KUALA LUMPUR – The trail judge in the case of Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (picture), who is facing four charges involving criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering, today reminded the public not to go overboard when making statements on the case on social media.
Judicial Commissioner (JC) Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid said the court could not prevent the public from making any comments as they had the right to do so under the Federal Constitution.
“But it’s a good reminder. The comments must be within permissible parameters and let’s not go overboard,” he said, adding that the press was free to report what transpired in court.
This came about after deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin raised to the court on an action by a Twitter account holder, by the name of Farhan, for leaking a transcript of an audio recording that had not been marked as a court exhibit by posting about the transcript. on his Twitter.
The audio recording allegedly contained a conversation between Syed Saddiq and a senior MACC officer, Mohd Ihsan Sapuan, who persuaded the politician to support the government under the leadership of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The audio recording was played in the court when MACC Investigating Officer Mohd Syahmeizy Sulong, 37, testified yesterday.
Wan Shaharuddin also questioned how the transcript of the audio recording was spread to the media, which was later broadcast by Astro Awani and published by Sinar Harian since it was only given to the court, comprising the judge, interpreter, the prosecution and defence teams.
“I can confirm this is not the doing of my two colleagues (referring to other deputy public prosecutors assisting him). They will not do this (leak the transcript to the media).
“The prosecution requested the court to summon the editors of Astro Awani and Sinar Harian to explain how they got the transcript,” he said.
He also informed the court that the two media agencies did not cover the when the audio recording was played yesterday.
On the individual named Farhan, Wan Shaharuddin said the man was in court today and the prosecution would request him to explain to the court on how he obtained the transcript of the audio recording.
“The action of Twitter owner is clearly sub judice because he made findings about a case that is still being tried. He is the prosecution, the defence and also the judge in this case,” he said, adding that a police report had been lodged today on the matter.
Meanwhile, lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, representing Syed Saddiq, said he disagreed with the prosecution’s claim that the transcript was leaked because the audio recording was played yesterday in court and the media had the freedom to report it.
“I don’t agree that this transcript was leaked because it was read in court and the questions asked were verbatim. The media listens and reports. The media is just doing their job…This is unfair and in this case Farhan represents the public,” he said, adding that the court did not issue any order prohibiting the public and the media to broadcast it.
Another lawyer representing Syed Saddiq, Datuk S. Ambiga also expressed his dissatisfaction with the issue raised by the prosecution , which he regarded as trying to bully the public by making a police report.
The hearing before Azhar continues. – Bernama