By Nurbaiti Hamdan | The Star
Activist Heidy Quah Gaik Li has been granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) by the Sessions Court here over a charge of sharing offensive content in a Facebook post alleging mistreatment of refugees at an Immigration detention centre.
According to Quah’s lawyer New Sin Yew, the DNAA was granted by judge MM Edwin Paramjothy on Monday (April 25) on the basis that the charge against her was “defective”.
This followed a preliminary objection filed by Quah, which was allowed by the court.
At this stage, Quah’s prosecution trial had not started.
The court then ordered for the DNAA and ordered for her RM2,000 bail to be returned.
New told the press that the court had found the charge against Quah not in compliance with sections 152 to 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
“The charge failed to adhere to the strict language of section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and lacked the necessary legal ingredients.
“The accused was left in the dark guessing as to the charge made against her. Her rights under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution have been infringed by the non-compliance of the provisions in the CPC,” New said when contacted.
To allow the trial to go on, he added, would be an abuse of process and diminish or render the accused’s constitutional right to be ineffective or illusory.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Najihah Farhana Che Awang appeared for the prosecution.
On July 27 last year Quah, who is the founder of the NGO Refuge for the Refugees, claimed trial to a charge of sharing offensive content over a Facebook post that alleged mistreatment of refugees at an Immigration detention centre.
She was accused of making the post through her Facebook page under the name “Heidy Quah” with intent to insult others at about 5.30am on June 5, 2020.
The post was later read at the Immigration detention depot’s management division office at Immigration headquarters in Putrajaya at about 3.30pm on June 10, 2020.
Quah, 27, was charged under section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 punishable under section 233(3) of the Act.
She faced a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both, upon conviction and would also have been liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for each day the apparent offence continued after conviction.