Ruling over Alister Cogia’s appeal to be heard on Sept 13

The appellant waiting outside the courtroom with a prison officer.

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By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Sept 4: The High Court has adjourned the ruling over Alister Cogia’s appeal application to September 13.

The court had fixed today to rule on Alister’s appeal application.

However High Court Judge Azhahari Kamal Ramli adjourned the ruling date to Sept 13 as he needed more time to research whether the lower court ought to observe a person’s mental health before passing sentence.

The appellant was respresented by counsels Francis Teron, See Chee How, Desmond Kho, Jeffery Mok and Chai Pei Chen. The respondent was represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor Musli Abdul Hamid.

On March 8, Alister was sentenced to an imprisonment of 10 years and fine of RM50,000 by Sessions Court Judge Jason Juga. On March 13, he made his appeal application through his counsels.

The accused was later found to he having learning difficulties by a psychiatrist which indicates that the language which is most familiar to the accused ought to be used.

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

He was sentenced to a imprisonment of two years for each charge under Section 298A(1)(a), and to a fine of RM10,000 or in default to two months’ imprisonment for each charge under Section 233 of the Comminications and Multimedia Act 1998.

The imprisonment terms are to run consecutively.

Alister was charged for commenting on Facebook through an account with the name of “Ayea”, with sentences that could cause disharmony among the people and discomfort to the people of the country on February 9, at about 7.11pm; February 10, at about 12.56am; February 14, at about 1.28am; February 24, at about 10pm and on February 24, at about 10.05pm.

He was arrested at an unumbered house located in Singgai Bau, on March 3, 2019, at about 12.15am.

Section 298A(1)(a) of the Penal Code relates to causing disharmony, disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill prejudicing the maintenance of harmony or unity on grounds of religion. This Section carries a imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than five years.

Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 relates to improper use of network facilities or network services. This Section carries a penalty of a fine of not nexceeding RM50,000 or a imprisonment of not more than one year or both and a fine of RM1,000 every day in which the offence is continued after completion.

On June 17, Alister was certified to be fit to plea and to stand for trial after he had been observed in Kota Sentosa Mental Hospital for a total of three months. — DayakDaily