Criminal revision for FB user who got 10 years for insulting Islam

The appellant sitting outside the courtroom.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Aug 9: The High Court has fixed Sept 4 to decide on the criminal revision of Alister Cogia, who received a 10-year jail sentence for insulting Islam.

The criminal revision was submitted by Alister’s team of counsels here, today.

Alister, who holds a Facebook account by the name of “Ayea”, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and a RM50,000 fine on March 8, by Session’s Court Judge Jason Juga.

On March 13, he made an appeal application through his counsels Francis Teron, See Chee How, Desmond Kho, Jeffery Mok and Chai Pei Chen.

One of his counsel, Francis Teron, after submitting the criminal revision, said during Alister’s mitigation on March 13, the accused was asking to pay fine and go home, where in fact the offence provided for a minimum two-year jail term.

“It meant that the appellant did not understand the nature and consequences of his plea,” the counsel said.

The other point that Francis brought up was that the proceeding was translated in Bahasa Malaysia, while the appellant is a Bidayuh native.

Mental evaluation by psychiatrist found the accused to be having a learning difficulty, which indicated that the language most familiar to the accused ought to be used for communication.

“Furthermore, there is nothing on record that the judge has ‘accepted the accused plea of guilty’, which under the law is strictly required,” he continued.

High Court Judge Azhahari Kamal Ramli fixed Sept 4 to make decision on the criminal revision submission.

The appellant faced ten charges and five were charged under Section 298A(1)(a) of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 298A(1) of the Penal Code. The other five charges were under Section 233 of the Multimedia and Communications Act 1998.

Session’s Court Judge Jason Juga sentenced the accused to a imprisonment of two years for each charge under Section 298A(1)(a), and sentenced the accused to a fine of RM10,000, or in default to two months imprisonment, for each charge under Section 233 of the Multimedia and Communications Act 1998.

The imprisonment term were to run consecutively.

Alister was charged with posting the offensive remarks on Facebook at 7.11pm on Feb 9, at 12.56am on Feb 10, at 1.28am on Feb 14, at 10pm on Feb 24, as well as 10.05pm on Feb 24.

He was apprehended at a house in Singai, Bau, on March 3 this year, around 12.15am.

Alister was certified fit for trial and make his plea on June 17, after observation at the Kota Sentosa Mental Hospital for three months. — DayakDaily