128 charged with disobeying police orders to disperse
Thursday, October 22, 1998
By Satwant Singh
KUALA LUMPUR, Wed. - A total of 128 people, including 17 women, were charged in the magistrate's court today with disobeying police orders to disperse from two unlawful assemblies.
All pleaded not guilty except for a lorry driver, Omar Marny, 42, of Taman Keramat, who admitted committing the offence and was fined RM2,000 by magistrate Muzalmah Mustapha Kamal.
They were charged separately in two groups; the first group of 62 people are accused of having disobeyed an order by ASP Sharul Lalli Masduki to disperse from an unlawful assembly.
They allegedly committed the offence near the Pertama Kompleks building, along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and at the junction of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Tun Perak between 3.10pm and 9.30pm on Oct 17.
All 62 also pleaded not guilty to an alternative charge of attending the unlawful assembly at the same place, time and day.
The second group, which included Omar, are accused of having disobeyed an order by Dang Wangi police chief SAC II Zainal Abidin Ali to disperse from an unlawful assembly at the junction of Jalan Raja and Jalan Lebuh Pasar between 9.30pm and 10.30pm on Oct 17.
Sixty-five of them also pleaded not guilty to an alternative charge of attending the unlawful assembly at the same place, time and day.
Muzalmah allowed an application by the prosecution led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Stanley Augustin for a joint trial for both the groups.
Others representing the prosecution were Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Fatnin Yusof and Azhar Abdul Hamid.
R. Sivarasa, M. Manoharan, R. Kesavan, Zulkepli Omar and Ramid Khan appeared for the 128 people.
The ages of those charged ranged from 18 to 51 years old.
They included teachers, lecturers, university students, an army corporal and the unemployed.
Stanley, presenting the facts involving Omar, said that about 2,000 people held an illegal assembly on Oct 17 between 9.30pm and 10.30pm.
He said police warned the people to disperse.
However, after three warnings they still did not show any reaction.
Instead, Stanley said, they continued to assemble and shouted slogans of "reformasi" and moved up to the Jalan Tun Perak junction.
He said the police continued to give warnings from time to time but they ignored the orders and police were ordered to carry out arrests.
Stanley said 68 people were arrested and Omar was one of them, adding, that other than failing to adhere to the disperse order, the assembly was never issued any permit by the police.
In mitigation, Sivarasa asked the court to impose the minimum fine.
He said Omar was married and had two children, adding that his wife was also pregnant.
Sivarasa said Omar earned about RM1,000 a month and this was his first offence.
Stanley said he left the sentencing to the court.
Muzalmah allowed bail of RM1,000 in one surety for all the 127 accused pending trial from May 2 to 31 next year. Most of them posted bail.
The principal charge was under section 27 (4) of the Police Act 1967 which is punishable under section 27 (8) of the same Act with a minimum fine of RM2,000 and a maximum fine of RM10,000 or a year's jail.
The alternative charge was under section 27(5) of the Act punishable under the section 27(8) of the same Act.
AT THE COURT ... Bar Council representative Charles Hector (extreme left) briefing some of the accused, their family members and friends at the Legal Aid Centre / Press room yesterday