PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal ruled that Seputeh MP Teresa Kok Suh Sim was wrongfully arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 2008, overturning an earlier High Court decision.
Panel chairman Justice Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim awarded Kok RM200,000 in general damages and RM150,000 in exemplary and aggravated damages.
The three-member panel, which included Justices Varghese George Varughese and Siti Zaleha Yusof, also ordered Kok be paid RM70,000 in cost.
Justice Varghese, who read the judgement, said the police failed to show sufficient reason to arrest the MP, nor any urgent need that would validate invoking ISA.
On March 13, 2009, Kok filed the suit against former Home Minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, DSP E Kim Tien and the Malaysian government, claiming she was wrongfully arrested.
On April 22, last year the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed the suit, saying it was satisfied with the witnesses’ statements that the arrest and detention were lawfully done.
Judge Datuk Su Geok Yiam also ordered Kok to pay RM50,000 in cost to each defendant.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing on Tuesday, Kok said the ruling exonerated her and proved that she had been wrongfully arrested.
In the statement of claim, she said she was arrested at the entrance to her home at 11.15pm on Sept 12, 2008, and detained for two hours without being allowed to contact her closest relative or her lawyer.
Kok said that at 2am on Sept 13, 2008, at the Wangsa Maju police station she was informed by the three defendants that she was detained under section 73(1) of the ISA on the ground that she had taken part in activities that could cause tension and racial clashes.
She claimed the negligence, arbitrariness and frivolity of the defendants in effecting her wrongful arrest and detention, had caused her severe mental stress, pain and suffering due to food poisoning and denial of her constitutional rights.
Kok sought damages for wrongful arrest and detention, pain and suffering and mental stress, general and special damages and other relief deemed fit by the court.