The Federal Court today upheld the decision of the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board and two lower courts clearing lawyer Cecil Abraham of professional misconduct.
A five-man bench led by Chief Justice Richard Malanjum unanimously dismissed the Bar Council's appeal.
Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, David Wong Dak Wah who delivered the court's verdict, said based on the circumstances, a reasonable tribunal would have come to the same conclusion that Abraham was not guilty of misconduct.
He said the standard of proof was beyond reasonable doubt as it concerned the misconduct of a solicitor.
"It had not been shown to us that there was a failure by the disciplinary board in acting fairly and judicially in carrying out its duty," he said, adding the appeal did not have merit.
Wong said the Federal Court also found that there was no blatant error in the application of the law.
The appeal was heard on Nov 19 last year before Malanjum, Wong and Federal Court judges Ramly Ali, Mohd Zawawi Salleh and Balia Yusof Wahi.
The judgment was pronounced today by a four-member bench pursuant to Section 78(1) of the Courts of Judicature Act as Balia had retired.
Abraham's counsel Rishwant Singh requested the court to impose RM150,000 in costs but the court agreed with the Bar Council’s lawyer Bastian Pius Vendargon that no costs should be awarded as the Bar was merely performing its statutory function.
A misconduct complaint was filed against Abraham for allegedly drafting the second statutory declaration of private investigator P. Balasubramaniam (who died of a heart attack in March 2013) and who was a prosecution witness in the murder case of Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu.
The hearing of the complaint against Abraham by the disciplinary committee commenced on Feb 27, 2014, and ended on Feb 7, 2015.
In March 2016, the disciplinary board affirmed the disciplinary committee’s findings and recommendation which found there was no cause for disciplinary action against the senior lawyer.
The Bar Council subsequently filed an appeal through an originating summons on March 11, 2016, seeking to set aside the disciplinary board’s decision.
However, the Bar Council lost its case in the High Court in 2016 and at the Court of Appeal in 2018. - Bernama