The Bowman papers, stashed inside a plain brown envelope, was left on top of my carry bag last year.
It was last June when I emerged from the Magistrate Court after finishing another day of testimony in Irene Fernandez' "false news" trial. I had left my carry bag on the bench outside the courtroom after striking a conversation with the defence team.
At first, I figured that perhaps someone had left the envelope there by mistake. I asked, but no one claimed possession of the 119-page document.
It did not immediately dawn on me the significance of the information it contained. It wasn't until I was on the plane back to Bangkok - I was then working for Thailand's The Nation - that I realised the stack of papers could go some way in showing that something was not quite right with our much criticised judiciary.
The Bowman papers were progress reports of a UK-based private investigation agency's probe into possible misconduct by Chief Justice Eusoff Chin, lawyer V.K. Lingam and business tycoon Vincent Tan.
There were actually two reports, one written on March 2, 1998 and the other on April 21, 1988.
The private investigating agency's managing director D. McCarthy said copies of tickets and itineraries were obtained. McCarthy also went some way to inquire into the case of a banquet held in Hyatt Regency Hotel to celebrate Eusoff's award of a datukship.
The Bowman reports claim that the dinner function was hosted by Shah Alam High Court judge H.B. Low and attended by businessmen and members of the judiciary, including Lingam. McCarthy had the receipts to show that the bill was footed by the wife of a businessman.
I brought the papers back to Malaysia late last year in the hope of pursuing my own investigation. But pre-occupied with the launch of malaysiakini , I had completely forgot about the envelope, until de facto law minister Rais Yatim said it was "improper behaviour" for Malaysia's highest judge to socialise with a very successful lawyer, who appeared in a number of high profile cases before him.
After consulting our legal advisors over the past week, we have decided to go public with the documents.