Saturday, August 16, 2008

Raja Petra, Shafee feud spills over to drama in court

Raja Petra, Shafee feud spills over to drama in court
16 Aug, 2008

(New Straits Times) - The Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah-Raja Petra Kamaruddin legal feud had all the makings of high drama when it unfolded at the magistrate's court yesterday.

By the end of the morning, the lawyer had promised to pursue the Malaysia Today website editor "no matter how many years it will take" with the latter indicating that he was prepared for the long haul.

It began about 11am when Muhammad Shafee went up to Raja Petra to serve a defamation injunction on him after waiting for him for about two hours.

Muhammad Shafee told Raja Petra, who was in court to face three charges of criminal defamation, that he was going to serve the order on him but was rebuffed by the latter who refused to accept the document.

"This is a court ... it is a contempt (of court)," Raja Petra told Muhammad Shafee who hurled the document to the floor after telling him that he had been served the document.

"All right, you are served in court," Muhammad Shafee told the website editor who walked away without picking it up. Raja Petra, accompanied by his wife Marina Lee Abdullah and counsel J. Chandra and Amarjit Singh, later took a seat in the front row of the public gallery unperturbed by the excitement.

The injunction related to Raja Petra's accusation that Muhammad Shafee had allegedly masterminded the sodomy charge against Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

But there was more drama to come with one of Muhammad Shafee's staff being ticked off by a court interpreter minutes later for taking photographs in court.

Muhammad Shafee then took the digital camera from the middle-aged man and started taking photographs of the order on the floor as well as pictures of Raja Petra who was seated.

Seeing Raja Petra's lawyer Amarjit Singh taking a picture of Muhammad Shafee, the latter asked if opposing counsel wanted to snap one of him (Muhammad Shafee) with Raja Petra. As the exchange took place, the order "disappeared' to the chagrin of both parties who charged each other with taking it.

Marina claimed that Muhammad Shafee's "boys" had taken it to which he replied that Raja Petra's "men" had taken it out of court in a Tamil newspaper.

"We have pictures of them (taking it out of court)," he said as both sides settled down for the case to be heard before magistrate Nazran Mohd Sham.

Raja Petra later told reporters that he had refused to accept the order on his lawyers' advice.

"I was told that the order should not be served by the lawyer himself and that it should not be done in a courtroom."

He said that he would have had no problem accepting the order if it had been properly served.

"I'm not hiding. So they can serve it on me anywhere."

Amarjit Singh said he and his client would have to review the documents before deciding on the next course of action. He, however, refused to confirm if the documents were in their custody, as claimed by Muhammad Shafee.

On Wednesday, the High Court ordered Raja Petra to reveal the source for the allegations against Muhammad Shafee in three online articles dated Aug 6, Aug 7 and Aug 11 relating to an alleged link between Muhammad Shafee and the sodomy charge against Anwar.

In addition, the order also compelled him to, within three days of its service on him, reveal the identities of visitors to his web portal who had left comments and messages following the publishing of the articles.

The order, granted by Justice Tee Ah Sing in chambers, also included several injunctions, the first of which directed Raja Petra to remove the defamatory articles from the web portal within two days as well as other follow-up articles and comments posted by visitors.

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