PETALING JAYA: A criminal lawyer, who made a death threat against another lawyer in 2014, has been sentenced by a magistrate’s court to nine months in prison and a fine of RM10,000.
A. Suayri, 56, was found guilty of threatening fellow lawyer Datuk Suraj Singh during a Selangor Bar event at Lake View Club in Subang Jaya at 11.35pm on May 24, 2014.
Magistrate Mohd Azali Ibrahim ruled the defence failed to raise reasonable doubt and meted out the sentence.
During trial, it was revealed that the threat uttered was, “If I see you anywhere, you better watch. If you don’t withdraw your complaint, I’m going to cut and kill you.”
Submitting for a heavier penalty, DPP N. Sivashangari said the threat was made to intimidate Suraj into withdrawing a complaint made against Suayri, alleging he had been poaching Suraj’s cases.
“The accused strayed from the path of the law. Considering the persons involved in the case, I urge the court to hand down the maximum penalty,” she said.
The offence under Section 506 of the Penal Code is punishable by a fine and a maximum seven years in prison.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Liow Boon Lee pleaded that Suayri had no prior cases, a solid record as a professional, and over 30 years of working in banking before becoming a criminal defence lawyer the last seven years.
“Suayri has many cases ongoing and clients depending on him. If he were to be unable to practise, it would adversely affect these people,” he said.
Under the Legal Profession Act 1976, lawyers guilty of any misconduct, including conviction of a criminal offence, can be struck off the roll or suspended from practice for any period not exceeding five years or ordered to pay a fine or be reprimanded or censured.
Liow urged the court to stay the sentence pending appeal.
The prosecution argued that it was unreasonable to stay the sentence for such a reason, as the accused knew he would be facing sentencing and should have put his affairs in order before hand.
The court stayed the sentence, but imposed additional conditions that a notice of appeal be filed immediately and the accused’s bail be raised from RM1,500 to RM5,000. Suayri posted bail.
Met outside the court, Suraj said he was happy to have the matter behind him, as the case had been going on since 2015.