Published: Monday September 3, 2012 MYT 1:56:00 PM
Anwar, Azmin plead not guilty to abetting riot
By M. MAGESWARI
The punishing section for rioting under Section 147 of the Penal Code was included in the amended charge for abetment.
Under the punishing section, the two PKR leaders can be jailed up to two years or fine or both upon conviction.
In July, Anwar, Mohamed Azmin and Rembau PKR chief Badrul Hisham Shaharin had been jointly charged with abetting R. Tangam, G. Rajesh Kumar and Farhan Ibrahim @ Alias to violate a magistrate's court order on April 26 by participating in a street protest.
On Monday, Anwar is also asking the Sessions Court judge to refer a constitutional issue to the High Court on grounds that it had no jurisdiction to decide the matter.
Anwar is asking whether the provisions of sections 4(1)(c) and 4(2)(c) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 were inconsistent with and contravene the provisions of the Article 10(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution and are therefore void.
Anwar's lead counsel Karpal Singh said they want to ask leave from the Sessions Court to refer the matter to the High Court.
His co-counsel Ramkarpal Singh said that they had filed three copies at the Sessions Court criminal court registry Monday for the purpose.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamad, however, applied for time to reply to the application saying that the prosecution would raise an objection against it.
"We need time to reply as it involved constitutional issue," said Abdul Wahab.
DPP Abdul Wahab said that he was only given a copy of the application on Monday and need to study the application as it would have consequences to the trial and other similar cases to be tried in court.
DPP Abdul Wahab asked the court to direct the defence to explain the delay in filing the application saying that was difficult to accept and that he was unsure if it was also a result of a "carelessness".
In his application, Anwar is also asking the Sessions Court to transfer its records of proceedings to the High Court and stay the matter pending the determination of the constitutional issue.
Anwar, Mohamed Azmin Ali and Badrul had claimed trial on May 22 in the Sessions Court to participating in the Bersih 3.0 street protest on April 28.
The three are the first to be prosecuted under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
They were alleged to have disobeyed a magistrates order prohibiting any assembly at Dataran Merdeka from April 28 to May 1.
The three were said to have committed the offence between 2.30pm and 3pm along Jalan Tun Perak on that day.
If convicted, they could be fined up to a maximum RM10,000 under Section 4(3) of the Act.
The three PKR leaders also faces a second charge of abetting by inciting Tangam, Rajesh Kumar and Farhan to open the barricades which could cause a riot or chaos at the area at about 3pm in Jalan Raja that day. Anwar, Azmin and Badrul were said to have committed the offence with more than five supporters of Bersih 3.0 who are still at large.
Sessions Court judge Mahmud Abdullah set Sept 13 to hear an objection by the prosecution against the defence's application to refer a constitutional issue to the High Court.
On Monday, Azmin's lead counsel Datuk C. V. Prabhakaran said that he would also be filing an application for his client saying that the proclamation order issued by the magistrate was ultra vires and that it should not be ex-parte and political in nature.
"We want to refer to the High Court for interpretation whether the act of the magistrate in granting the order is valid or not," he added.
Anwar told reporters later that it would be a joint defence strategy for the parties to refer the questions of law to the High Court for interpretation by respective lead defence counsel.
"Karpal is for me, Prabhakaran is for Azmin while Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden will be refer another application on behalf of Badrul," said Anwar.
On Monday, it was originally fixed for the hearing of the application by Anwar to strike out his charge.