LETTER | I refer to the Malaysiakini article AG’s inconsistency over Jong-nam murder accused mind-boggling.
In lambasting the attorney-general for inconsistency in the Kim Jong-nam murder case, DAP’s legal bureau chairperson Ramkarpal Singh said that the decision to continue with the murder charge against Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong while dropping the one against her Indonesian co-accused Siti Aisyah was “mind-boggling”.
“Mind-boggling” is an understatement.
It was the attorney-general, then a lawyer, who once examined at some length the awesome powers of the Malaysian attorney-general and then gave his two cents on the matter:
“It cannot be believed that it is humanly possible for one person to combine the different qualities of executive partisanship, judicial temperament, advocacy skills and compassion and mercy which are called for in the exercise of (the) diverse and conflicting powers (of the attorney-general).”
Perhaps the attorney-general now believes that it is humanly possible to combine both prosecutorial temperament and compassion and mercy when called for.
How else then can a public prosecutor discontinue a criminal proceeding against an accused yet continue the same against a co-accused, more so when a prima facie has been established against both accused and for whom defence has been called for?
What a prima facie case means would be a tongue twister for laymen. But for want of better words, let’s just reproduce what the courts have said what it is.
“A prima facie case is … one that is sufficient for the accused to be called upon to answer. This, in turn, means that the evidence adduced must be such that it can only be overthrown by evidence in rebuttal. The result is that the force of the evidence adduced must be such that, if unrebutted, it is sufficient to induce the court to believe in the existence of the facts stated in the charge or to consider its existence so probable that a prudent man ought to act upon the supposition that those facts exist or did happen.”
While it is true that the attorney-general has the prerogative to discontinue the prosecution against Siti Aisyah and continue the prosecution of Doan Thi Huong, I would agree with Ramkarpal that particularly when a prima facie case has been found against both of them, the decision to discontinue against one and continue against the other is unprecedented and regrettable.
The decision does not speak well for, and does not bring confidence to, the country’s criminal justice system.
The country had so much hope for confidence to return to the justice system, civil or criminal, after May 9, 2018.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.