Selangor Journal
A Court of Appeal chamber in the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya. — Picture by BERNAMA

IT executives fined RM140,000 each for modifying contents of computer servers without authorisation

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 16 — Two IT executives were spared a jail sentence, but were each fined RM140,000, in default one year jail, by the Court of Appeal today on two charges of modifying the contents of computer servers of an oil company without authorisation in 2009.

R. Muralitharan and R. Pathmanathan were each fined RM70,000, in default six months jail, on each count.

They were charged with committing the offence at Shell Information Technology International Sdn Bhd, Jalan Usahawan, Century Square, in Cyberjaya, Selangor on February 28, 2009, and March 1, 2009.

A three-member bench of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Datuk Suraya Othman, gave the two men until 5 pm this Friday (February 18) to settle the fine, failing which, a warrant of arrest would be issued against them.

She said the court took into consideration that as a result of the duo’s action, the cost to restore the servers that were damaged, as well as the investigating cost and supporting legal process amounted to RM5 million.

Justice Suraya said the action by the two men had affected the people in Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Norway and other parts of the world.

She said the court also considered the mitigating factors presented by the two men that they were first offenders and had children to take care of and jobs to go back to.

Justice Suraya, who presided with Justices Datuk Nordin Hassan and Datuk Hashim Hamzah, set aside the High Court order which upheld the Sessions Court’s decision in sentencing them to two years’ jail on each count and substituted it with a fine.

Muralitharan, 43, and Pathmanathan, 45, were found guilty by the Sessions Court in 2011 on two counts of modifying the contents of the company’s servers without authorisation were sentenced to two years’ jail on each count to be served consecutively.

They were charged under Section 5 (1) of the Computer Crimes 1997 and punishable under Section 5(4) of the same Act which provides a maximum fine of RM150,000 or a maximum jail sentence of 10 years or both if the act is done with intention of causing injury as defined in the Penal Code.

In 2014, the High Court upheld the decision of the Sessions Court, prompting Muralitharan and Pathmanathan to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

In today’s proceedings before the Court of Appeal, Pathmanathan’s lawyer, Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent, told the court that the representation by his client and Muralitharan had been accepted, whereby the prosecution agreed to impose a fine on the two men provided that they withdraw the appeal on their conviction.

Both Geethan Ram and Muralitharan’s counsel, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, requested the court to impose a fine of RM30,000.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Khushairy Ibrahim requested the court to impose fine of RM70,000 on each count, saying due to their act, a total of 681 servers were affected and required restoration work to be carried out in countries including Malaysia, United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia and Kazakhstan.

— Bernama

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