KUALA LUMPUR: Two men heaved a sigh of relief as the High Court today acquitted and discharged them for having links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorist group.
After spending four months and 20 days behind bars, Seremban Jaya assemblyman P. Gunasekaran, 61, and V. Balamurugan, 38, walked out of the courtroom as free men.
They were acquitted by three separate courts.
Their acquittal came following the prosecution’s application to discontinue with the prosecution against them.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Suffian Jaafar who conducted the prosecution for the cases told the courts that he received instructions from the Attorney-General (AG) to have the charges against the two, dropped.
“There were no grounds (for the application). We are using the provision under Sect 254 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” he said.
Given the AG’s decision, Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin then cleared Gunasekaran from a charge of pledging support to the LTTE by using his Facebook account named ‘DAP Guna Palainisamy’ on Oct 7, last year.
“The prosecution had applied to halt the proceedings against the accused and no reason was given regarding the matter. I therefore discharge and acquit the accused,” the judge said.
Gunasekaran’s family members and supporters who filled the courtroom heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing the verdict.
Earlier, his counsel Ramkarpal Singh submitted that to free his client was the right thing to do providing the facts and circumstances.
He also told the court that the defence does not want a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) to avoid the charges hanging on his client’s head.
“The prosecution had also confirmed that there was no reason (for the application), so the proper thing is an acquittal and discharge,” he said.
Gunasekaran was also acquitted from a similar charge before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
Before Nazlan, he faced a charge of pledging support to the terrorist group by attending an event at Dewan Kasturi Ayer Keroh in Ayer Keroh, Melaka between 8.30pm and 10.50pm on Nov 28, 2018.
Nazlan also gave similar grounds in acquitting the accused.
Seen in the courtroom were DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, Klang member of parliament Charles Santiago and DAP chairman Tan Kok Wai.
A crowd of family members and supporters who were waiting outside of the courtroom clapped and cheered in happiness as Gunasekaran walked out.
When met outside the court, Gunasekaran expressed gratitude to everyone especially his counsel, the AG, DAP leaders who were present during the proceedings and also his supporters for standing by his side.
Meanwhile, judicial commissioner Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh also made the same decision, acquitting Balamurugan.
Balamurugan was slapped with five charges of supporting and possessing items related to LTTE in several courts in several states.
On Feb 21, the AG Tan Sri Tommy Thomas decided to drop all the charges against 12 people who were accused of supporting LTTE.
Thomas in a statement said there were compelling reasons not to puruse charges against the accused, foremost of which was that “there is no realistic prospect of conviction” against any of them for the 34 charges they were facing.
The 12 were first brought to court on Oct 31, last year and faced charges of supporting and possessing items related to the terror group.