It is most outrageous and a blot in the Malaysian administration of justice that the Shah Alam Sessions Court could be so harsh, excessive and unconscionable as to accede to the Attorney-General’s outrageous demand to deny bail to the 31 persons charged with the ridiculous offence of attempted murder of a policeman and to send them to Sungai Buloh Prison in the past four days since Thursday.
Sixteen of these 31 had been earlier charged in the Selayang session’s court with being at an illegal assembly in front of Sri Subramaniam Temple at Batu Caves between 1 am and 8 am on Nov. 25, and released on a court bail of RM1,000 each.
They were free for only three days as they were re-arrested for the capital offence of among 31 for the attempted murder of a cop, for which they were not allowed bail and sent to Sungai Buloh Prison pending trail, which could see them being imprisoned for months on end although their guilt has not been established and have their innocence proved at the end of the trial.
In upholding the Attorney-General’s unreasonable demand that the 31 be denied bail, Shah Alam sessions judge Azimah Omar said she had considered the severity of the offences and the issue of national security in the ruling. She said that the participants in a large unlawful gathering had put the public and national interest at stake, not that of any particular ethnicity, religion or race.
As these 16 persons had been released on bail for three days before re-arrest for the capital offence of “attempted murder”, were there any evidence in those three days of freedom to show that these 16 people were grave threats to national security as to justify their being treated as hard-core anti-national elements?
Did the Session Court judge acted rightly, fairly and judiciously in exercising her discretion to accede to the Attorney-General’s demand to deny the 31 bail, despite the clear evidence of the medical and other problems faced by the accused?
What is even more shocking is the disclosure by Gani Patail at the Shah Alam Session Court last Thursday for a manhunt
for at least another 30 to be charged with attempted murder.
To charge 31 persons for the attempted murder of a policeman injured in the fracas at the Batu Caves on Nov. 25 is already outrageous and mind- boggling enough – but clearly, the Attorney-General is determined to set a new mind-boggling record of outrage in wanting to prosecute over 61 persons for the attempted murder of one cop in one fracas in Batu Caves with the manhunt.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is well-advised to caution the Attorney-General of the far-reaching consequences of provoking a new crisis of confidence in the administration of justice through flagrant abuse of the Attorney-General’s absolute discretion in prosecution with blatant instances of selective and malicious prosecution.
For the best part of the past decade, the crisis of confidence in the administration of justice had been confined to the judiciary’s failure in independence and integrity – with the country spared of the earlier crisis of confidence over the Attorney-General’s abuse of his discretionary powers through blatant selective and malicious prosecution.
Is Malaysia going to see a return of the double-barrelled crisis of confidence in the administration of justice – not only over the lack of confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary but also in the blatant abuse of discretionary powers of prosecution of the Attorney-General?
(Media Conference Statement 2 at the DAP Ipoh Timur/Batu Gajah foodfair at Tou Boo Kong Temple, Ipoh on Sunday, 9th December 2007 at 11 am)