KUALA TERENGGANU: The Syariah High Court here postponed the trial of a Sky Kingdom sect follower after she told the court she did not know how to cross-examine a witness.
Kamariah Ali, 54, was asked by Justice Muhammad Abdullah to cross-examine state Syariah enforcement officer Yusof Salleh, 41.
Yusof had earlier given evidence against Kamariah who is charged with humiliating Islam under Section 7 of the Syariah Criminal Offence Enactment (Takzir) Terengganu 2001.
She was accused of uttering the words “Saya telah keluar dari Islam dulu (I have renounced Islam previously)” at the Besut Lower Syariah Court on July 21.
Kamariah was alleged to have said the words when she and more than 40 sect followers were charged with not adhering to a fatwa (edict) declaring the sect’s teachings as deviant.
Muhammad said Kamariah should cross-examine Yusof since she could not find a Syariah lawyer to defend her in the case.
When Kamariah replied that she did not know how to do it, Muhammad gave her an example on how to cross-examine a person.
When she still could not come up with the questions, he announced a 15-minute adjournment to enable her to formulate them.
When trial resumed, Kamariah appeared confused, prompting Muhammad to ask Chief Syarie public prosecutor Mustafar Hamzah about the next course of action.
Mustafar said he had no objections to the case being postponed but there should not be any more postponements.
Muhammad then asked Kamariah to engage a lawyer among the 57 Syariah lawyers in the state.
He fixed Aug 15 for the continuation of the trial.
At the outset of the proceedings, Kamariah had asked for a postponement when she could not find a counsel to represent her.
Civil lawyer Haris Mohamed Ibrahim, who was in the public gallery, sought permission to address the court but was refused.
Haris told newsmen later that the Bar Council had written to the 57 Syariah lawyers but had yet to receive a reply from them.
He said he informed Syariah High Court registrar Wan Mohd Zukri Wan Mohd that Syariah lawyer Sa’adiah Din from Selangor had agreed to represent Kamariah and all other sect followers.
“She would be making an application to the state Religious Council to be appointed as a Syariah lawyer in Terengganu,” he said.