JB High Court issues gag order on Chegu Bard

JOHOR BAHRU — The High Court here today issued a gag order barring Bersatu Information Committee member Badrul Hisham Shaharin or Chegu Bard (picture) from issuing any statements or comments related to the casino project in Forest City until the disposal of the case. 

Judge Datuk Abu Bakar Katar, in his judgment, said that the court is of the view that Article 10 of the Federal Constitution on freedom of speech to respondent (Badrul Hisham) has a limit and not an absolute right.

He said the respondent did not need to use social media to defend his rights on the charges he was facing and would get a fair trial as guaranteed in Article 5 (1) of the Federal Constitution, in addition to the respondent being represented by an experienced and competent lawyer.

“This court issued a gag order on the respondent or agent, any representative, against issuing any remarks or comments on social media related to this case until the disposal of the case,” said Judge Abu Bakar.

He made the ruling after allowing a review application by the prosecution against the decision of the Sessions Court here which rejected its application for a gag order against Badrul Hisham from making or issuing any statements related to the case. 

On April 30, Badrul Hisham pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here on charges of issuing seditious remarks related to the casino project in Forest City.

He is accused of making seditious remarks on his Facebook account under the name ‘Che GuBard’ at Mutiara Villa Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur at 6.30pm, on April 26.

Judge Abu Bakar said that the Sessions Court judge when rejecting the application for a gag order, had failed to consider the entire scenario of the case involving the respondent.

He said Badrul Hisham had been accused of two offences in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court involving a case of issuing seditious remarks against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and if the gag order was not issued, it could compromise the position of the King as the head of state, especially in addressing issues raised on social media.

“The respondent has already been granted bail for the cases in the Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru Sessions Courts. In this situation, the respondent is free to use social media to issue remarks related to the case. 

“This is where the Sessions Court Judge failed to acknowledge the real and significant risk for the respondent to repost seditious contents against the King if the gag order is not issued,” said the judge.

On April 30, the court allowed Badrul Hisham bail of RM10,000 in one surety.

Outside the court, lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, who represented Badrul Hisham, said that the defence complied with and respected the judge’s decision and that he would discuss with his client to consider submitting an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya. — BERNAMA