PUTRAJAYA (Bernama) – An engineer who was convicted of posting Internet comments which insulted the late Perak Sultan Azlan Shah, escaped going to jail for a year as his custodial sentence was set aside by the Court of Appeal here yesterday.
A three-member panel chaired by Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat however, upheld Chan Hong Keong’s conviction and maintained the maximum RM50,000 fine which was imposed on him by the Sessions Court in Butterworth.
Chan, 32, paid the fine. He was on bail of RM40,000, pending appeal to the Court of Appeal.
The panel, also comprising justices Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh and Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim dismissed Chan’s appeal with regard to his conviction but allowed his appeal to set aside his jail sentence.
In her decision, Tengku Maimun said Chan was the person who had posted the offensive comments and the court was satisfied that his conviction was safe. She said both the prosecution and defence were given opportunity to fully ventilate their case before the High Court and therefore, there was no deprivation of procedural fairness.
Tengku Maimun said although the offence committed by Chan was serious, nevertheless, the court was of the view that the jail sentence should be set aside, based on the trend of other similar cases where the accused person was only fined.
She said the RM50,000 fine was appropriate and adequate sentence.
On June 1, 2012, the Sessions Court found Chan guilty of posting comments which insulted the late sultan on the website http://books.dreambooks.com/duli/duli.html and had sentenced him to one year jail and RM50,000 fine.
He was found guilty of committing the offence at his house in Permatang Pauh, Central Seberang Prai at 12.05am on Feb 13, 2009.
On Feb 14, last year, Chan lost his appeal at the High Court which upheld the Sessions Court’s decision.
Chan was represented by lawyer Ram Karpal Singh while deputy public prosecutor Lailawati Ali appeared for the prosecution.