The transfer of Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin’s defamation case from the magistrates court to the Sessions court was “illegal, void and contrary” to provisions in the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), the Sessions court heard on Monday.
Raja Petra’s lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon said that the Section 117 of the CPC did not permit the transfer of a case by a magistrate’s to the Sessions Court where the case was properly before the magistrates court.
“The said order of the magistrate, which exposes the accused to an unequal and potentially higher punishment, is unconstitutional in that it breaches the equality provisions of the Federal Constitution,” he said.
Raja Petra is alleged to have defamed the Deputy Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor by making a libelous statement in the declaration, which he affirmed on June 18.
He also faces two similar charges against Kolonel Norhayati Hassan and her husband Acting Kolonel Abdul Aziz Buyong.
He was charged with the three counts of defamation in the Kuala Lumpur magistrates court in July this year.
On Aug 15, the Attorney-General Chambers had applied to the magistrates court to transfer the cases to the Sessions Court on grounds that it “involved public interest”, and the cases were transferred.
Manjeet submitted that Sessions Court judge Mohamad Sekeri Mamat could either send the case back to the magistrates court, or order a stay of proceedings and transmit the record to the High Court to determine if the transfer was valid.