It was another day of absurdity in the annals of the judiciary when Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim incomprehensibly ruled on 11 March 2009 to deny the Speaker of the Perak State Assembly his right of defence. His ridiculous decision has given the judiciary a bad name tarnishing its reputation and ruining its image.
On two previous occasions, on 3 and 5 March he had ruled that the Speaker could not have lawyers of his choice to represent him in the suit brought against him. And on 11 March, he ruled that the Speaker could not even act for himself.
His bewildering decisions have shocked and stunned the legal fraternity and the man in the street. These decisions went against the grain of natural justice. They were neither supported by legal precedents nor justified by logical reasoning.
Even the lay man is allowed to represent himself. No court has denied him this right to defend himself. Why then this exception in the case of the Speaker?
Justice has not been served by the following decisions of the judicial commissioner which are startling, confusing and baffling:
- He has refused legal representation of the Speaker’s choice thus going against natural justice;
- He has refused the Speaker the right to represent himself denying him his inalienable human right;
- He has refused to allow the Speaker’s leading lawyer to hold a watching brief with speaking rights, thus refusing to hear the Speaker’s side of the case;
- He has ruled that the Speaker is a public officer when the law does not support his contention;
- He has issued an indefinite restraining order when he does not have the authority to do so;
- He has decided to hear the case against the Speaker when the law does not allow him to do so under the Federal Constitution.
The many grave and glaring errors of the judicial commissioner have been very well argued by the former Court of Appeal judge, N H Chan, in his article ‘How to judge the judge’.
In view of the many discrepancies, Aliran urges the Chief Justice to declare a mistrial and dismiss the case in the interest of justice.
Alternatively, there must be a fresh trial presided by a senior judge who is well versed with the law and who understands the principles of justice.
13 March 2009