: The Federal Court today held that it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the prosecution's appeal against an appellate court's decision to strike out the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA) charge on Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah.
A five-man panel comprising Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Zainun Ali, Tan Sri Ramly Ali, Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim and Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin dismissed the prosecution's appeal.
"The matter started at the Sessions Court and should end at the Court of Appeal," said Malanjum who chaired the panel.
Following this decision, Chin, 61, is free and will not face trial on the charge under Section 9 (5) of the PAA.
Chin was charged at the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 1, 2015 for failing to give notice to the Brickfields district police, 10 days in advance before organising the Bersih 4 rally in front of the NU Sentral shopping complex in Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields here between 2pm and 3pm on Aug 29, last year.
She then applied to the High Court for the charge to be struck out but it was dismissed on April 18, last year.
The Court of Appeal on Sept 7, last year reversed the High Court decision and struck out the charge.
The Court of Appeal’s three-man bench had ruled that the provision in which Chin's charge was premised upon, was not a valid law at that time when she was charged as the Court of Appeal had declared the PAA provision requiring 10-day notice to be unconstitutional in PKR's Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad's case.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud said the prosecution was appealing the appellate court's decision as it involved constitutionality of the law.
He said the appellate court decision was improper as Chin had used the wrong mode to strike out her charge, adding that she should have made an application to have the Federal Court determine constitutional questions instead of seeking for the charge to be struck out.
Chin's counsel M. Puravelan said the matter before the appellate court and High Court revolved around an application to strike out the charge and did not involve constitutional issues.
The matter (thus) should have ended at the appellate court, he noted.
Outside court, Chin welcomed the decision and felt that one case was over.