Appeal Court reduces damages awarded to Anwar

by BERNAMA / pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

DATUK Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) will only get a global sum of RM600,000 in general and aggravated damages instead of RM1.1 million in his defamation suit against TV3 for linking him to the Lahad Datu intrusion in Sabah in 2013.

This follows a decision by a Court of Appeal three-member bench led by Justice Datuk Has Zanah Mehat to reduce the quantum of damages by setting aside the High Court’s award of RM250,000 each in aggravated and exemplary damages to the Port Dickson MP.

Has Zanah had instead substituted the High Court’s order with a global amount of RM600,000 in general and aggravated damages.

“We allow TV3’s appeal in part. We vary the award in the (High Court) order dated May 14, 2018, by setting aside the award for exemplary damages and a separate award for aggravated damages,” she said.

Has Zanah, who presided with Justices Datuk P Ravinthran and Datuk Indera Mohd Sofian Abd Razak, heard TV3’s appeal on the quantum of damages via video conferencing. The TV station had withdrawn its appeal on liability.

Has Zanah also ordered each party to bear their own costs of appeal.

In 2018, High Court Judge Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim allowed Anwar’s defamation lawsuit against TV3 after finding that the TV station had failed to practice responsible journalism when it did not seek verification on the authenticity of the news before airing it in its Buletin Utama on March 2, 2013.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court had ordered TV3 and the then Media Prima Bhd news and current affairs, radio and TV network group managing editor Datuk Shahruddin Abd Latif to pay a total sum of RM1.1 million to Anwar, which was RM600,000 in general damages and RM250,000 in aggravated and exemplary damages.

Besides TV3, Anwar had also named Utusan Melayu and then Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd group editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak as defendants in his suit, but on Oct 5, 2016, Anwar reached an agreement with Utusan Melayu to settle the case.