GEORGE TOWN - A lawyer apologised to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim while an English daily and two journalists were required to pay RM60,000 (S$19,284) in cost to the former Opposition Leader in an out-of-court settlement of his defamation suit against them.
Datuk Ranjit Singh Dhillon read out his written apology and retracted his statements that were published in the New Straits Times on Aug 6, 2013.
He also apologised for calling on Anwar, who was present in court, and the late DAP chairman Karpal Singh to declare their assets to clear themselves of "unproven and unsubstantiated allegations against them in relation to judiciary fixing and corruption".
His apology and an acknowledgement from New Straits Times that the published article was baseless is to be published in the daily today or tomorrow.
The consent order was recorded by Justice Rosilah Yop, who requested that Karpal's wife Gurmit Kaur step forward before the apology was read out.
Anwar sued Ranjit, the New Straits Times Press Berhad and journalists Adrian Lai and Looi Sue-Chern on Oct 26, 2015, for the article which alleged that he had paid Karpal RM50mil by cheque as a legal fee to bribe judges and prosecuting officers.
Yesterday was the first day of the hearing and Ranjit offered to settle out of court before the court was due to convene at 10am.
A small crowd of PKR supporters gathered outside the courthouse in Light Street as police blocked roads around it.
By noon, fewer than 50 people remained to catch sight of Anwar when he was led out of the court and driven back to prison at about 5pm.
During a court break, Anwar told reporters he was satisfied with the apology and felt there was no need to pursue the matter.
Asked how he was doing in prison, he said he missed food like nasi kandar and pasembur and wished for better treatment in jail.
Ramkarpal Singh, one of three lawyers representing Anwar, expressed his appreciation to the judge for asking his mother to step forward for the apology even though his father Karpal was no longer a party to the suit.