PUTRAJAYA: Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd and Malaysiakini editor-in-chief failed in their bid to set aside the leave obtained by the Attorney-General (AG) to commence committal proceedings against them.

Court of Appeal President, Datuk Rohana Yusuf who led the Federal Court seven-member bench unanimously dismissed the application and set July 13 to hear the merits of the contempt of court proceedings.

In her decision, Rohana said looking at the nature of the impugned comments which implicated the judiciary as a whole, and also included the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, the court was of the view that the Federal Court is the right forum to commence the committal proceedings.

She said the court was also of the view that by virtue of Section 114 of the Evidence Act 1950, the respondents were presumed to have published the impugned comments, and that a prima facie case has been made out.

“Pending the final disposal of the matter, we hereby direct parties not to make any comment on this case to avoid sub judice,” she said.

The other judges presiding were Chief Judge of Malaya, Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judges, Datuk Seri Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan, Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli.

On June 17, the Federal Court allowed AG Tan Sri Idrus Harun’s ex-parte application for leave to commence committal proceedings against Mkini Dotcom, the company which runs news portal Malaysiakini and its editor-in-chief.

The AG sought leave to start committal proceedings against Mkini Dotcom and the editor-in-chief was in relation to five readers’ comments on an article published by Malaysiakini on June 9 entitled “CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1″.

It was argued by senior federal counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching in the court proceedings in the Federal Court on June 17 that the news portal allowed comments deemed to be offensive and embarrassing to the judiciary to be posted on the comment section of the article. – BERNAMA

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