Federal Court Posthumously Acquits Karpal Singh of Sedition

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Acquitting the late lawyer of charge for offence allegedly committed 10 years ago, seven-member bench said there had been serious misdirection by the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Choo Choy May

The Federal Court today unanimously acquitted late DAP leader Karpal Singh of sedition after finding a serious miscarriage of justice in his case over a 2009 remark on the Perak crisis then.

Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim, who chaired the Federal Court panel, said there were serious misdirections of law by the High Court and Court of Appeal that convicted and upheld the decision against Karpal respectively.

“In the circumstances of this case, we are of the view that the failure is a serious misdirection and had occasioned a substantial miscarriage of justice which is not curable under the proviso to Section 92(1) of the Courts of Judicature Act.

“Consequently, we allow both appeals against conviction and sentence and set aside the conviction and sentence against the appellant,” she said.

The other judges on the seven-man panel are Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Seri David Wong Dak Wah, Tan Sri Ramly Ali, Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin, Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Tan Sri Idrus Harun and Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan.


The High Court had on February 21, 2014, found Karpal guilty of sedition over his remarks on the Perak Sultan’s role in the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis, sentencing him to a fine of RM4,000.

Shafwan Zaidon

Karpal’s daughter and son, lawyers Sangeet Kaur Deo and Ramkarpal Singh, with Karpal’s widow Gurmit Kaur.

Karpal died almost two months later on April 17, 2014, in a car accident on the North-South Expressway near Gua Tempurung, Perak.

On May 30, 2016, the Court of Appeal reaffirmed Karpal’s conviction while reducing the fine to RM1,800. Only one judge ruled that Karpal’s sedition conviction should have been set aside. – MMO