Do we need the sub judice rule?

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COMMENT | In April 2016, the then attorney-general Apandi Ali was asked: “Why do we have to maintain the sub judice rule since jury trials have already been abolished? Surely, judges can’t be influenced by our writings.”

The response was: “The rule must stay because judges are only human. We can’t take for granted that judges can’t be influenced. There have been instances (where) judges have been influenced. Even the mere presence of people in a courtroom can instil fear in a judge.”

I took note of his remarks lightly because a year earlier, I was the subject of an attempt to cite me for contempt by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who represented former Selangor menteri besar Mohd Khir Toyo.

Shafee complained to five learned judges: “Two articles - a commentary by R Nadeswaran titled ‘Truth, nothing but the truth’ and an editorial titled ‘Don't do the crime, if you can’t do the time’ were “prejudicial” to my client.”

Chief Judge of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin said the court took note of the articles, but denied that the judges were influenced by the articles or the social media...

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