PUTRAJAYA – Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad lost its appeal to set aside a High Court decision ordering the company to pay RM250,000 in damages to DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang over a defamatory article.
A Court of Appeal three-man panel chaired by Justice Datuk Lim Yee Lan, in a unanimous decision, dismissed Utusan Melayu’s appeal and also ordered the company to pay RM15,000 in legal costs.
“We find no merit in the appeal. There is no appealable error in the decision of the High Court,” said Justice Lim in upholding the High Court decision for Utusan Melayu to pay the damages to Lim.
The panel, which also comprised Justices Datuk Varghese George Varughese and Tan Sri Idrus Harun, earlier heard submissions from Utusan Melayu’s counsel M. Reza Hassan who argued that the High Court judge misdirected herself when she focused only on certain paragraphs of the article when deciding that the article was defamatory.
He said the article must be read in its entirety and the court cannot only look at certain paragraphs of the article.
After hearing the submission from Reza, Justice Lim said the court did not need to hear the submission from counsel Gobind Singh Deo who represented Lim.
On Dec 10 last year, High Court Judge Datuk Yeoh Wee Siam ruled that on the balance of probability, Lim had proven his claim against Utusan Melayu and she ordered the company to pay RM250,000 damages to Lim and also RM25,000 costs for the court proceedings in the High Court.
In his lawsuit, Lim, who is Gelang Patah MP, had claimed that Utusan Melayu defamed him in its article published in its weekly newspaper Mingguan Malaysia on Aug 18, 2013, on the election of the DAP Central Executive Committee.
In its statement of defence, Utusan Melayu denied defaming Lim and claimed that it had exercised reasonable care in obtaining and verifying information contained in the article.
Reza told reporters that he would seek instruction from his client on whether to bring the matter up to the Federal Court. – BERNAMA