(File pix) Batu Kawan Umno vice-chairman Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan (left) and lawyer Matthias Chang (right) has been discharged and acquitted over ‘economic sabotage’ charge. Pix by Sairien Nafis

KUALA LUMPUR: The sessions court today discharged and acquitted former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chairman Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and lawyer Matthias Chang in their ‘state economic sabotage’ case.

In acquitting the men, judge Wan Mohd Norisham Wan Yaakob said he had allowed the prosecution's decision to withdraw the charge, and also the defence’s application for a full acquittal.

"Yesterday, the prosecution said that they were not pursuing the case in the interest of justice and fairness, and requested that both the accused be given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal and gave no other reasons.

"The defence then submitted that a full acquittal should be given to the accused, as without an acquittal, the prosecution could charge them later, and it would be like having a dagger over their heads," he added.

Wan Mohd Norisham also ordered both Khairuddin’s and Chang's bail money and passports be returned to them.

Khairuddin and Chang, who were charged with attempting to sabotage the nation's banking and financial services, were on a RM10,000 bail, with one surety, each.

The duo was previously detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

They were alleged to have committed the offence in five countries – France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong (China) and Singapore – between June 28 and Aug 26, 2015.

On April 27, 2017, the Federal Court ruled that the charge of “economic sabotage” levelled against both men does not fall under Sosma, and that their charge under Section 124L of the Penal Code would proceed for trial at the sessions court.

Khairuddin was represented by Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdullah, and Chang by Zainir Zakaria.

The prosecution was represented by Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin.