Court junks second Nik Nazmi assembly law charge

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(Malay Mail Online) – A Sessions Court granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal to Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad this afternoon, barely two hours after the Selangor lawmaker was charged with violating an assembly law — the same charge he was freed of recently.

Judge Yasmin Abdul Razak said the lower court is bound by the Court of Appeal’s decision to acquit and discharge Nik Nazmi on April 25 for violating the Peaceful Assembly Act.

“Whether rightly or wrongly he was freed… this is a daunting task for me but I have to concede I’m only a sessions court judge and I’m bound by the Court of Appeal’s ruling, until and unless the Federal Court decides otherwise,” she said.

According to the charge read out in court today, Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi, 32, allegedly violated Section 9 (1) by failing to notify police 10 days prior to the Blackout 505 rally at the Kelana Jaya Stadium on May 8 last year.

If convicted, he may be fined as much RM10,000 as prescribed under Section 9(5) of the PAA and would be at risk of losing his state seat.

But the Sessions Court later gave Nik Nazmi a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, and directed prosecutors to continue pursuing the appeal of the original charge to the Federal Court.

The former PKR communication director was charged on May 17 last year for the same offence.

Nik Nazmi is among the seven Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders, including two MPs, who were charged under the controversial legislation for organising various Blackout 505 rallies claiming the results of the Election 2013 were rigged.

Upon challenge on the first charge, Nik Nazmi was acquitted by the Court of Appeal on April 25 and no order of stay was granted.

The appellate court, in a unanimous judgement, ruled it unconstitutional to criminalise spontaneous public assemblies in breach of the 10-day notice required under Section 9 (1) of the legislation.

The three-person bench said that Section 9 (5) of the PAA ― which imposes a maximum RM10,000 fine for non-compliance ― ran counter to the Federal Constitution and must be struck out.

The prosecution has also filed an appeal over the acquittal at the Federal Court.