Sharifah Aini Freed From Defamation Charge

January 23, 2006 18:42 PM

PETALING JAYA, Jan 23 (Bernama) — Veteran singer Datuk Sharifah Aini Syed Jaafar was Monday given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Magistrate’s Court for defaming popular artiste Siti Nurhaliza Taruddin.

Magistrate Azroul Hisham Azulan held that the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case because the charge did not meet the provision of Section 131 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The section states that the court shall not take cognisance of an offence except upon complaint made by some people aggrieved by the offence or by the Public Prosecutor.

Azroul said a charge and a complaint were two different matters.

“It cannot be denied that generally, anyone can make a complaint but with the specific provision under Section 131 which stipulates only certain parties can make the complaint, the specific provision must be followed,” he said.

Azroul also said the court did not see Abdullah Bin Mamat (Harian Metro entertainment journalist) as a person who could complain because Section 131 clearly states that only the person aggrieved by the offence or the prosecutor could do so.

Sharifah Aini, 52, was charged with publishing defamatory allegations against Siti Nurhaliza, 26, through an e-mail to her adopted brother Ahmad Shaharil Jamaludin at her house in Lorong Utara, Off Jalan Utara, Petaling Jaya, at 4.52pm on Aug 24 last year.

The charge under Section 500 of the Penal Code carries a maximum jail term of two years or a fine or both, upon conviction.

Sharifah Aini said after the proceedings that she accepted the court’s decision with mixed feeling and was not very happy because she did not have the opportunity to tell her side of the story.

“I’m a bit upset, maybe one day the truth will be revealed, perhaps,” she said.

Her counsel Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said technically, the prosecution could appeal and legally, they could also re-charge Sharifah Aini. He, however, hoped the prosecution would consider it because it did not benefit Sharifah Aini or Siti Nurhaliza. “This is not a win win situation. Many people will get hurt. Being a wise person, I think the Attorney-General will consider this,” he said.