Bid by ex-AG’s officer to expunge defence in RM100 mil suit

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has fixed Jan 26 to hear an application by a special officer of former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali to partially strike out the defence of Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown, who is slapped with a RM100 million defamation suit over an article.


David Gurupatham, who is appearing for Mabel Sheila Muttiah, said the application was made as Rewcastle Brown did not produce all the documents needed as ordered by the court last year.


“We will submit to strike out part of her defence due to her non-compliance before we move for trial,” David told FMT after case management before Judge Azimah Omar.


Romario Jonoi represented Rewcastle Brown.


David, who was assisted by Venothani Rajagopal, said the defendant did not produce the documents even though she was given an extension of time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


“She only filed an affidavit enclosing some documents which, to us, is insufficient,” he said.


Mabel said the suit was filed for “a very serious allegation levelled against a member of the administration of justice”.


In her statement of claim filed in 2019, she is asking for aggravated and exemplary damages, together with an injunction against causing further defamation, as well as a mandatory order for Rewcastle Brown to remove a posting from the Sarawak Today website.


The article, titled “How AG’s Office connived to prevent a second post-mortem on Kevin Morais – exclusive expose”, had alleged that Mabel had sent texts to the family members of the late deputy public prosecutor urging them to expedite the cremation of his remains to prevent a second post-mortem.


Morais’ remains were found in a steel drum after he was kidnapped on the way to work in September 2015.


A former army doctor and five others were sentenced to death in July after they were found guilty of the murder.