Lawyer Lim Lip Eng, representing the three plaintiffs, said judge Mohammed Mokhzani Mokhtar gave three reasons in dismissing the case.
"He said this was an illegal assembly; that the protesters had failed to disperse when ordered; and that police had applied reasonable force to disperse and arrest those concerned," said Lim.
The finding was delivered in a two-minute oral judgment this morning. The judge also awarded costs to the respondents, but the quantum is yet to be decided.
While declining to comment directly on the ruling, Lim pointed out that no one had been charged with the purported 'illegal gathering'.
"I am disappointed that, despite video evidence being tendered showing the police brutally assaulting us, punching and kicking repeatedly, the judge still ruled in the government's favour," he said.
"We have one month to appeal. I shall discuss this with the plaintiffs and we will inform the press if we decide to appeal."
The civil suit, filed in May 2007, named the inspector-general of police, Kajang police chief Rosli Mohd Nizam, policeman Azman Atan, the government and others on duty as respondents.
In the incident on Jan 21, 2007, some 40 residents and activists had gathered to protest against the Grand Saga Highway concessionaire for blocking off a slip road into their community, thereby forcing residents to enter and exit the area by way of the new toll highway.
The plaintiffs alleged they had been injured in the melee that ensued when police rushed at them ahead of the time given for them to disperse.
Mahkota Cheras Free Access Road Action Committee president Tan Boon Hwa, who is also a plaintiff, told a press conference at the court complex that the protesters had not been given enough time to disperse.
Another plaintiff, Ho Chee Loong, agreed: “I am disappointed with the decision, and I say citizens must continue to stand up for their rights.”
The third plaintiff was his brother, Chee Hui.
Lim said despite the court decision, his clients did not regret their action as their action had ensured that the slip road remained open up to today.
Police arrested 21 protesters in two places along the Grand Saga Highway, which links Kuala Lumpur with Kajang, during the incident.The demonstration coincided with the third in a series of protests organised by Protes - a coalition of opposition parties, civil society groups, trade unions and student groups - against higher toll charges at five Klang Valley highways with effect from Jan 1 that year.
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