The Session Court of Kuala Lumpur had acquited Mat Sabu, Tian Chua, Gobalakrishnan and 17 others involved in the illegal rally organised by Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) on Nov 10, 2007.
Two reports - one from Malaysiakini and the other from Bernama - gave two different interpretations and legal implications.
The Malaysiakini's version was filled with legal inconsistencies and gave the impression the judge Jagjit Singh does not know his law.
This is the irony. Malaysiakini potray itself as a card carrying liberal and claim to be fighting for freedom, human rights, transparency, good governance and all that associated with justice and equality.
But they are championing PKR's agenda. Spinning stories and twisting events is part and parcel of Anwar Ibrahim's propaganda. They get sucked along.
True blue liberals are open, truthful and honest people, thus do not believe in lies and spins to perpetuate their cause.
Is Malaysiakini being truthful to what they are championing?
Below was how Hafiz Yatim of Malaysiakini (taking the free BM version here) twisted the story:
Demo 'haram': 2 MP, 15 lagi dibebasOne should notice (in bold) that the reason they attributed the judge's ruling was that the Masjid was a public area and no one has the right and power to disperse the crowd.
Nov 19, 10
Mahkamah Sesyen Kuala Lumpur hari ini membebaskan 15 orang, termasuk ahli parlimen Batu Tian Chua atas dakwaan terlibat dalam perhimpunan awam yang dianjurkan Gabungan Pilihan Raya bersih dan Adil (BERSIH).
Hakim Jagjit Singh berkata, pihak pendakwaan gagal membuktikan kes prima facie bahawa perhimpunan pada 10 November 2007 itu haram.
"Masjid negara adalah tempat beribadat, dan tiada sesiapa mempunyai kuasa untuk menyuraikan hadirin, atas apa alasan pun orang ramai mempunyai hak berhimpun di masjid," katanya.
Jagjit menyampaikan keputusan itu selepas mendengar pengakuan daripada 36 saksi sepanjang perbicaraan yang mengambil masa tiga tahun.
Selain Tian Chua, dua lagi pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat yang didakwa, anggota parlimen Padang Serai N Gobalakrishnan dan bekas naib presiden PAS dan pemidato terkenal Mohamad Sabu.
Semua mereka ditahan tiga bulan selepas perhimpunan itu.
Takbir, ciuman gembira
Kesemua mereka ditahan ketika berarak bersama 40,000 orang lagi daripada beberapa tempat sekitar Kuala Lumpur ke Istana Negara bagi menghantar memorandum kepada Yang di-Pertuan Agong bagi menuntut pilihan raya yang bersih dan adil.
Selepas saja Jagjit mengumumkan keputusan itu, mahkamah bergema dengan suara takbir daripada orang ramai yang hadir.
Gobalakrishnan kelihatan terlalu gembira dengan keputusan itu dan lantas mencium pipi peguam Jason Tay.
Mereka yang lain: Mohd Salim Yeslam, 25, Ahmad Razali Abd Rahman, 53, Razali Abdul, 37, Mohd Asri Ahmad, 37, Muhd Harith Fatillah Shahabudin, 27, Saleh Mohamad Tahir, 50, Azahar Yusop, 46, Sulaiman Ahmad, 60, Taib Abdullah, 36, Mohd Abi Salam Ariffin, 28, Ishak Othman, 36, dan Mohd Zad Abdullah, 42.
Dua lagi merupaka tertuduh juvana dari Kedah.
Kesemua mereka didakwa terlibat dalam perhimpunan haram di beberapa tempat, merangkumi laman Masjid Negara, Jalan Istana, Jalan Raja Laut dan sekitar pusat membeli-belah SOGO di Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman Rahman antara jam 1 hingga 4 petang pada 10 November 2007.
Excuse me, that is inconsistent with The Police Act (1964) (pdf copy available here), in which the validity of Section 27 on the power of the police to govern the issuance of permit for public gathering.
The liberals claim that Article 4 of the Constitution which says that any laws in contravention with the spirit of the Constitution will be deemed as invalid. One citizenship right mentioned in the Constitution is the right to gather. No law is invalid that restrict that rights.
The argument against is that the right to gather comes with condition. Otherwise, it Malaysia is an anarchic state where nothing can stop that right to gather and do anything one likes. One condition is the Section 27 of the Police Act.
The Section 19 to 27 of the Police Act spells out the power of the police.
By Malaysiakini's spin, it will mean Police have no power to monitor and control public order in public area.
If anything untowards happen to Judge Jagjit Singh's Sikh Temple of congregation, then Tuan Yang Arif has no business to seek help from the police.
Let us compare to Bernama's report below:
Tian Chua, Gobalakrishnan Among 17 AcquittedIt turns out to be a case of insufficient proofs and argument by the prosecutor than about being inconsistent with other laws.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 (Bernama) -- Batu Member of Parliament Tian Chua and Padang Serai MP N. Gobalakrishnan were among 17 people acquitted by the Sessions Court here from participating in an illegal rally organised by Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) on Nov 10, 2007.
Sessions Court judge Datuk Jagjit Singh Bant Singh also acquitted PAS Central Committee member Mohamad Sabu, Mohd Zad Abdullah, Mohd Salim Yeslam, Abdul Razali Abdul Rahman, Razali Abdul, Mohd Asri Ahmad, Mohd Harith Fathillah, Saleh Mohd Tahir, Azahar Yusop, Sulaiman Ahmad, Taib Abdullah, Mohd Shafie Ismail, Mohd Nazreen Mohd Nasir, Mohd Abi Salam Ariffin and Ishak Othman.
Jagjit said the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against the 17 people, aged between 19 and 60, who were accused of participating in an illegal assembly.
In acquitting Chua and Mohamad who were accused of gathering near the Istana Negara, Jagjit said police had allowed the duo to hand over a memorandum to the palace officials and accusations were made based on visual recorded on tape.
"The two were at Istana Negara to submit the memorandum and the police had given them time. After submitting the memorandum they had left the vicinity, so the question of they did not disperse when asked to, does not arise," he said.
As for the charge on Gobalakrishnan who was arrested with several others on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the judge said the court found the evidence of the arresting officers unsatisfactory and doubted their credibility.
"There is no evidence to show if they were in the assembly, or if they had just arrived at the place or if they just happened to be there," said Jagjit.
Jagjit also ruled that the arrests made at the national mosque were also not justified as those accused had every right to be there since it was a place of worship for Muslims.
All the accused were represented by Mohamad Hanipa Maidin, Jason Tay and Nasir Khan while Deputy Public Prosecutors Ishak Mohd Yusoff and Mohd Farizul Hassan Bakri appeared for the prosecution.
Malaysiakini ... you sure are giving the liberals a bad name.