KUALA LUMPUR: The Sessions Court adjourned the bribery trial of former Ampang Jaya Municipal Council enforcement chief Kapt (Rtd) Abdul Kudus Ahmad pending his counsel’s bid to write to the Chief Justice asking for another judge to preside over the case.
Judge Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar stayed the trial yesterday without making a decision on counsel M. Manoharan’s verbal application on Monday to disqualify herself over certain actions, which he claimed, could give rise to “bias.”
He said he would write to the Chief Justice today regardless of the verbal application to the court.
Despite vehement objections by DPP Nordin Hassan, Nor Afizah fixed Nov 13 for mention so that the defence could inform the court on the outcome of his letter.
On adjourning the trial at 11.30am, Nor Afizah did remark that Manoharan had wasted the court’s time by making a verbal application when he would in any case write to the Chief Justice to seek an order.
Earlier, the parties had taken the whole morning to argue on case laws to persuade the judge to decide on the application to disqualify her.
Even during submissions, a spat almost broke out again between Manoharan and the judge.
Manoharan claimed that the judge kept rephrasing his submissions and not recording it properly while questioning him in cross-examination style.
“Stop cross-examining me, I am not in the witness box. I am an officer of the court. I don’t want to be cross-examined,” he said.
Nor Afizah explained to him that she was not trying to cross-examine him but was seeking a clarification with regard to his submissions so that it could help her decide.”Is that too much to ask?” she asked Manoharan.
Manoharan’s complaint was based on, among others, grounds like the judge had slammed the door and abruptly halted the trial, that she had kept saying “Next” while Manoharan was making a point during submissions and told the parties not to treat the proceedings like a circus.
He had argued that her conduct would give rise to “ample likelihood of bias” against the defence if the trial were to proceed.
So far, only two witnesses had been called. They are Norlela Kamsi, a 42-year-old administrative officer of MPAJ, and S. Vijayaletchumy, 25, the sister of a restaurant owner who complained against Abdul Kudus for accepting bribes amounting to RM59,000.
Abdul Kudus, 40, faces 24 charges of accepting bribes ranging between RM1,000 and RM12,000 on several occasions from restaurant owner Steven @ S. Sathiasilan at various locations here and in Selangor between May 2001 and May this year.
The money is said to have been given to Abdul Kudus as an inducement to withdraw the notice of licence cancellation and closure of business and not to take action against Steven for placing chairs and tables on the road in front of his restaurant.
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