Malaysia: Federal Court condemns judge who sent Anwar to jail
The trial judge, Justice S. Augustine Paul, who convicted Datuk Seri Anwar
Ibrahim's lawyer, Zainur Zakaria, for contempt of court appeared to act as
"counsel for the prosecution", said the Federal Court on 27June 2001.
"The manner he (Justice S. Augustine Paul) conducted the proceedings, in
particular the interrogation of the appellant and the speedy finding of
guilt without even allowing the appellant to call any witness, gave the
picture that he was behaving as though he was acting as counsel for the two
prosecutors in the motion," said Justice Abdul Malek Ahmad.
Justice Malek, who sat with Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Steve Shim and
Federal Court Justice Haidar Mohd Noor, said Justice Paul decided Zainur
had committed contempt before even framing the charge, and a defective
charge at that.
"What merits consideration is whether there was evidence to support the
application to disqualify the two DPPs. One only need read Manjeet Singh's
letter and statutory declaration to appreciate the fact that this cannot be
a baseless allegation. In consequence, there is really no basis to find
that Zainur had acted in bad faith in filing the application on behalf of
his client (Anwar). The main issue is the conduct of the two prosecutors
striking a bargain to get further evidence, fabricated at that, against
Zainur's client in exchange for a reduction of the death penalty."
He said there was no basis for Zainur to explain or apologise, adding that
the trial judge's demand for an apology meant that contempt had taken place
when the issue of contempt had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
"There has been a blatant disregard of rules of procedure and considering
the frame of mind the learned trial judge was in, he should have been the
last person to deal with the contempt issue. Imposing a sentence of three
months' imprisonment was definitely the wrong icing to the cake," he added.
Justice Haidar also held that, "Since Anwar was justified prima facie in
filing the application, Zainur could not be said to be reckless and
negligent and acted in bad faith in filing the application. The issue of
trying to derail the trial also did not arise as evidence showed that
Zainur was merely asking for a short adjournment to prepare his defence."
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