PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has struck out a charge preferred on Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah over her alleged failure to give notice to police prior to a rally event last year.
A three-man bench chaired by Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat held that there were merits to allow her appeal to set aside a High Court refusal to strike out the charge.
She said any law including court judgments could not be applied retrospectively. Presiding with her were justices Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi and Datuk Kamardin Hashim.
With this decision, Chin, 60, will not face a trial on that charge at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
She was charged at the Sessions court on Oct 1, last year for failing to give notice to the Brickfields district police, 10 days in advance before organising the rally in front of the NU Sentral shopping complex, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields here between 2pm and 3pm on Aug 29, last year.
She was charged under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and liable to a fine of up to RM10,000 upon conviction.
Chin subsequently, applied to the High Court for the charge to be struck out but her application was dismissed by the court on April 18 this year.
Earlier, counsel M. Puravelan submitted the charge against his client was unlawful as it was premised on a provision that was declared unconstitutional by the Court of Appeal.
He said at the time of the alleged offence, the decision in the Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad case which declared unconstitutional Section 9 (5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act that penalised organisers of a rally if they failed to notify the police, was still an applicable law.
Puravelan said it was only on Oct 1, last year, another panel of the Court of Appeal in the R. Yuneswaran case decided not to follow the Nik Nazmi decision and had ruled that Section 9 (5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act was constitutional.
However, deputy public prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim argued that the decision in Yuneswaran’s case was the applicable law because it was the latest decision, adding that a law could be applied retrospectively.
Earlier outside the court, Chin said Bersih 2.0 would hold a rally in November, adding that it would reveal details of the proposed gathering on Sept 14 at a press conference.
On the outcome of the Court of Appeal decision, she said she was happy.
By Astro Awani