Activist fails to get leave to appeal RM100,000 court award to lawyer

09 Jul 2020 / 16:41 H.

PUTRAJAYA: An activist failed in his bid to obtain leave from the Federal Court today to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s ruling to award lawyer Eric Paulsen RM100,000 in damages in a defamation lawsuit.

A three-member panel chaired by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed dismissed Mohamed Hafiz Mohamed Nordin’s leave application, saying the legal questions posed did not fulfil the requirements of section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.

The panel also ordered Mohamad Hafiz to pay RM10,000 in costs.

The other judges on the panel were Federal Court judges Datuk Seri Mohd Zawawi Salleh and Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat.

Following today’s ruling, the July 4, 2018 decision of the Court of Appeal to award RM100,000 in damages to Paulsen, who was then the executive director of Lawyers for Liberty, is affirmed.

In his suit filed on Oct 22, 2015, Paulsen said Mohamed Hafiz on Feb 9 the same year published an article entitled “Jangan biar Eric Paulsen bebas tanpa perbicaraan” (Do not let Eric Paulsen go free without a trial) in Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia’s (Isma) website.

He said the defamatory words had caused damage to his good name, dignity and affected his professional and personal reputation.

Paulsen claimed that the words were without basis, false and published with bad intention.

The High Court in 2017 ruled that Paulsen failed to prove the statement uttered by Mohamed Hafiz had referred to him and had lowered his reputation in society.

Paulsen then appealed to the Court of Appeal, which allowed his appeal and ordered damages to be given to him (Paulsen).

Chief Justice Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who was then a Court of Appeal judge who chaired the Court of Appeal bench, held that the statement posted by Mohamed Hafiz was defamatory.

Lawyers Latheefa Koya and Shahid Adli Kamarudin represented Paulsen while lawyer Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican represented Mohamed Hafiz. — Bernama

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