By Hafiz Yatim | The Edge Markets

Former Repco Holdings Bhd chairman Low Thiam Hock — THE EDGE/Zahid Izzani Mohd Said

The High Court has deferred delivering its verdict on former Repco Holdings Bhd chairman Low Thiam Hock’s appeal against his conviction and sentence with regards to his offence of market manipulation of Repco shares in 1997.

This follows Judicial Commissioner (JC) Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid wanting the defence, led by lawyers Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and New Sin Yew, to put in their written submissions on the sentencing before Azhar delivers the decision, as the JC noted that the SC, represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Shoba Venu Gobal, had already provided the submissions on this in February.

“I noticed there is no submission tendered over sentencing by the defence. Hence, we will fix another date before the end of this year after Christmas for this,” Azhar said on Thursday (Dec 15).

Shafee earlier noted that the court can use its discretion to deliver the verdict first and the parties could submit on sentencing if the guilty verdict is upheld, while Shoba, who appeared with SC DPPs Mohd Izzuddin Mohamad and Mohd Hafiz Mohd Yusoff, also indicated the same.

However, Azhar preferred that the written submissions on the sentencing be put in by the defence and fixed Dec 28 to deliver his decision.

The Sessions Court had in 2016 found 60-year-old Low, better known as Repco Low, guilty of market manipulation of Repco shares and sentenced him to five years’ jail and a RM5 million fine, which he is presently appealing against.

The former chairman of Repco was charged under section 84(1) of the Securities Industry Act 1983 for carrying out acts calculated to create a misleading appearance, with respect to the price of Repco shares on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange on Dec 3, 1997.

Low was initially acquitted without his defence being called, and the decision was upheld by the High Court. But the Court of Appeal reversed the decision and ordered him to enter his defence, and the trial resumed in the Sessions Court before another judge, which ended in his conviction.

In October, Low’s defence team submitted that the Sessions Court judge had erred in not taking into consideration the expert witness and empirical research to show that it was not market manipulation as alleged in the charge, but an averaging in.

The prosecution, meanwhile, said the Sessions Court did not err in its decision and the conviction, as there was sufficient appreciation of evidence by the learned Sessions Court judge specific to the mens rea (criminal intent) of Low when he made the purchases of the Repco shares.