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Justice prevails! Court rules blog posting not defamatory

As published in Malay Mail today. 

Court rules blog posting not defamatory

THE High Court has struck out a defamation suit filed by a lawyer against a journalist on grounds the case was an abuse of the judicial process.

The ruling was made by judge Datuk Yeoh Wee Siam in chambers yesterday.

The suit was filed by Datuk Mohamad Bustaman Abdullah against Malay Mail executive editor Haresh Deol on August 15, 2012, over an article posted on the latter’s blog Foul! (www.hareshdeol.blogspot.com).

Haresh had in the posting “Judge Walks Out” on June 27, 2012, republished a Malay Mail article “Judge walks out as question turns personal”, a hyperlink to an article “Ethics vital for lawyers” published in The Star Online on June 27 and a YouTube video clip titled “Hooligan lawyer assaults client”.

Mohamad Bustaman, had claimed the Malay Mail article, which was a court hearing between National Sports Council (NSC) and Mesuma Sports Sdn Bhd, was defamatory to him.

He had acted for the NSC in the matter involving a trademark dispute over the tiger stripe design on the national jersey.

Mohamad Bustaman claimed The Star Online article, by way of juxtaposition, bore the meaning he was an unethical lawyer and the video, by way of juxtaposition, bore the meaning the plaintiff was a hooligan lawyer.

He had on June 2012 sued Malay Mail and its former journalist, T.K. Letchumy Tamboo, for defamation over the article. He had claimed the article was defamatory, not true and had affected his reputation as a solicitor.

Yeoh, who presided over the case against Malay Mail, had on November 2013 dismissed the suit saying the defendants were not liable for defamation.

Mohamad Bustaman appealed against Yeoh’s decision but the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision.

Haresh’s lawyer, Datuk Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos, said Yeoh had struck out the suit in chambers and also ordered Mohamad Bustaman to pay RM5,000 in costs.

Jababerdeen said: “The judge said the plaintiff should have withdrawn the matter against the defendant immediately after the Court of Appeal’s decision as the suit by the plaintiff is a relitigation of issues of an earlier suit and was an abuse of the court process.

“The judge also said the hyperlink to the article in The Star Online and YouTube posting in the blog did not refer to the plaintiff.”

Mohamad Bustaman was represented by B. Mahendra Kumar.

HD says: I rest my case.

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