Malaysian sex bloggers' trial postponed, pending bid to throw out charge

Malaysian sex bloggers' trial postponed, pending bid to throw out charge

PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA: The Court of Appeal here has allowed the stay of sex bloggers Alvivi's trial in the Sessions Court, 

Justice Linton Albert ordered Monday that the lower court trial be postponed, pending the hearing by a fellow Court of Appeal panel on whether the charge of causing religious disharmony via a controversial Ramadan "bak kut teh" greeting on Facebook should be struck out.

The panel, which also included Justices David Wong Dak Wah dan Zakaria Sam, unanimously agreed with Alvin Tan Jye Yee and Vivian Lee May Ling's lawyer that the strike-out attempt could be rendered academic should the trial be allowed to proceed.

The trial, which was fixed to be heard at the Kuala Lumpur Session Courts on Jan 8, 9 and 10, was thus postponed.

The usually close couple were seen sitting separately in the public gallery while waiting for their case to be mentioned.

It was reported that the couple's relationship may be on the rocks after Tan accused Lee of having sex with others behind his back, in what he dubbed a violation of their rule not to "swing" behind each other's backs.

On Dec 20, last year, High Court Judge Kamardin Hashim had dismissed the duo's application, ruling that they failed to give adequate reason to halt the case.

The court agreed with the prosecution's argument that allowing the case to continue would not cause irreparable prejudice to the case.

Tan and Lee are attempting to have the charge under Section 298A(1) of the Penal Code for stirring hostility between religions struck out, on the grounds the law was meant to ensure smoothness of the practice of Islam among its followers, not those of other religions.

The lawyer J. T. Chong argued on Oct 31 that the prosecution's claim that the words used by his clients were an insult to Islam was not logical and baseless, and that the allegation showed prejudicial thinking towards other ethnic groups in Malaysia.

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