KUALA LUMPUR - Senior lawyer and DAP national chairman Karpal Singh was fined RM4,000 (S$1,500) by the High Court here for sedition.
The sentence, however, will not as yet affect Karpal's position as Bukit Gelugor MP because he is appealing against the conviction and sentence. He later paid the fine.
High Court judge Justice Azman Abdullah handed down the decision after considering the facts of the case, public interest, and submission on Karpal's role and his medical condition.
"This court does not wish to impose a custodial sentence on the accused. Therefore, I mete out a fine of RM4,000," he said here yesterday.
The crowd started coming into court at about 9.45am and 15 minutes later, the room - which could usually seat about 60 people - was packed with over 100 people, mostly PKR supporters.
Present in court were Karpal's sons Ramkarpal Singh, Gobind Singh Deo and Jagdeep Singh Deo, and his daughter Sangeet Kaur, as well as political leaders from Pakatan Rakyat. Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong and vice-president Steven Thiru held the watching brief for the council.
Karpal, 73, was charged with uttering seditious words against the Sultan of Perak at his legal firm in Jalan Pudu Lama here between noon and 12.30pm on Feb 6, 2009.
He was alleged to have said that the removal of Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak Mentri Besar by the Perak Ruler could be questioned in a court of law.
The charge under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act carries up to three years' jail or a RM5,000 fine or both.
Karpal's counsel Gobind also tendered two medical reports on Karpal's condition, dated Jan 11 and March 21, 2011, from Gleaneagles Medical Centre and Loh Guan Lye Specialist Centre.
Senior Federal Counsel Noorin Badaruddin said that although no one would deny that Karpal was a leading lawyer, he had questioned the Sultan's role and claimed that the Ruler had breached the state constitution.