Rumour Via E-mail: Bank Officer Acquitted
29th April 2000 (NST)

KUALA LUMPUR, Fri. - The fact that the sender's name appears on an e-mail is no proof that he is the originator of the message, the magistrate's court ruled today.

Magistrate Shahrizal Shaari said there was no proof that bank officer Au Yong Wai, 29, had in fact typed and sent the rumour via e-mail about the purchase of parangs by Indonesians here, even though Au did not deny Marcus Au Yong Wai was the sender of the message.

He acquitted Au without calling for his defence on a charge of circulating the rumour through the Internet at Hong Leong Bank, Wisma Hong Leong, Jalan Perak here, about 2.21pm on Aug 3, 1998.

Au had pleaded not guilty to the charge which carries a maximum sentence of two years' jail, or a fine, or both. He was detained under the Internal Security Act on Aug 12, 1998.

Shahrizal said the prosecution, which called 22 witnesses, had no clear evidence to prove that the rumour was circulated with the intention to evoke fear in people or cause a breach of public order.

Therefore, he said, the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against Au.

Au was represented by Kitson Foong while DSP Tan Kok Liang prosecuted.