Social media ban on discussing Zayn Rayyan’s case? Lawyer shares little-known facts about gag orders

18 Jun 2024 02:42pm
Zayn Rayyan. Small picture: Nor Zabetha Muhamad Nor.
Zayn Rayyan. Small picture: Nor Zabetha Muhamad Nor.

In the case concerning the death of special needs child, Zayn Rayyan Abdul Matiin who was murdered, the defence team for his parents requested for a gag order on the case at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court to prevent people from making any statements regarding the case.

Lawyer Fahmi Abd Moin said this after Zaim Ikhwan Zahari and Ismanira Abdul Manaf were charged with neglecting the six-year-old autistic child, which may have led to physical harm in December, last year.

What exactly is this gag order? Here is an explanation from lawyer Nor Zabetha Muhamad Nor from Messrs Nor Zabetha Chinna & Co.

A gag order is an order to prevent comments and posts on social media about the case that could disrupt the trial proceedings later.

The court, after hearing submissions from both the defence and prosecution, agreed to issue a gag order only to the parties involved.

The lawyer explained that those involved included the lawyers of both accused, their families and the prosecution.

This meant that the public still has the right to speak and write.

This was because if a party from the accused's side wrote something, it would be impossible for the investigation and prosecution teams to counter through writing because the case needed to be resolved in court.

The Federal Constitution provides for freedom of speech but also requires that boundaries are respected and not exceeded.

At the same time, she supported the court's action in issuing the order only to the involved parties and not to the public.

"I believe the court also recognises that this case involves issues of public interest. An autistic child was murdered. He did not drown, he did not accidentally fall. He was murdered. Who is the perpetrator?

"Should our mouths be shut to voice calls for justice for this child?

"Despite numerous accusations from the public during the investigation process, criticising the police, the prosecution and the court, the Sessions Court did not issue a gag order against us or the public.

"We are free to speak and this issue is crucial to bring justice to the deceased," she said.

Meanwhile, Zabetha hoped the community would continue to speak out against heinous crimes to obtain justice for the innocent child.

"Let us not continue to be silent about this child. Keep speaking out. Justice should prevail for Zayn, who was wronged," she added.