Judge: Court can't dictate who prosecution should call

IPOH: Courts should not insist on witnesses being called in a certain order to testify but let the prosecution decide, said a High Court Judge. 

Justice V.T. Singham said the number of witnesses to be called was also entirely up to the prosecution. 

“The court cannot and should not dictate who the prosecution should call. 

“Neither can the court direct the prosecution to call the complainant to testify,” he said. 

Justice Singham said this when setting aside an order by a Sessions Court to drop the corruption charges against two policemen. 

On May 24, the lower court here granted K. Premnath, 26, and P. Vejayan, 41, a discharge not amounting to an acquittal when the complainant did not testify on the first day of hearing. 

Premnath and Vejayan were jointly charged with seeking RM300 from the complainant, Ruzaimi Hassan – who was sought by police in connection with a fight in 1996 – as an inducement to not arrest him. 

They were alleged to have committed the offence at a restaurant in Taman Lahat Baru near here at 9am on Dec 10, 2003. 

Premnath faced a second charge of seeking another RM300 from Ruzaimi at about 3.20pm the same day. 

In his application for a revision, Anti-Corruption Agency DPP Kevin Morais told the court that the Sessions judge had preferred to listen to the testimony of the complainant first although there were other witnesses present in court that day. 

“The prosecution was ready to go on and there was no indication that it was requesting for an adjournment. 

“Neither was there any in-dication that the DPP who was handling the case was disinterested in prosecuting the case nor was there any indication that investigations were not complete. 

“The Sessions judge was of the view that if the subpoena could not be served on the complainant and another witness was not present then it should allow defence counsel Naran Singh’s application for an acquittal,” he said. 

Naran Singh agreed with Morais and asked for the hearing of the case to be continued at the Sessions Court. 

Justice Singham ordered that the case be heard again at the same Sessions Court.  

Premnath and Vejayan were previously granted RM2,500 bail with one surety for each offence. This was restored by Justice Singham. 

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