SARAWAK Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown who was sentenced in absentia yesterday (Feb 7) to two years’ imprisonment has initiated an appeal against both her conviction and the imposed sentence.
Her attorney Guok Ngek Seong confirmed that he has been instructed by Rewcastle Brown to proceed with the appeal process in the High Court.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the verdict, Rewcastle Brown is urging the presiding judge to utilise his revisionary powers to rectify what she perceives as a fundamentally flawed and unjust ruling.
According to a news portal report, Guok said he would file the application on Thursday (Feb 8) to claim that the Kuala Terengganu Magistrate’s Court had, in delivering its verdict and imposing the sentence, violated Section 425A (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
He contended that the authorities were aware of his client’s location in London but failed to initiate proper extradition proceedings.
Moreover, he pointed out that under legal provisions, proceedings in absentia can only be pursued if the accused absconds following a plea of not guilty.
The legal saga traces back to a defamation lawsuit filed by Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah against Rewcastle Brown on Nov 21, 2018.
Furthermore, the suit stemmed from allegations made by Rewcastle Brown suggesting the Sultanah’s involvement in corrupt activities and her purported influence in the establishment of the Terengganu Investment Authority, later known as 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
Previously charged with criminal defamation in absentia on Sept 23, 2021, Rewcastle Brown found herself on the receiving end of a guilty verdict delivered by Magistrate Nik Mohd Tarmizie Nik Mohd Shukri yesterday, prompting an immediate imposition of the sentence.
Representatives from the prosecution side, including deputy public prosecutors Engku Ahmad Rashdi Engku Abdillah, Mohd Khairuddin Idris and Nur Amalina Najwa Mohd Ali were present during the proceedings. – Feb 8, 2024