Bid to move graft trial to KL rejected


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 02 Mar 2004

BY RUBEN SARIO

KOTA KINABALU: The High Court here has rejected the prosecution’s bid to transfer the corruption trial of former Sawit Kinabalu Bhd managing director Datuk Wasli Mohd Said to the High Court of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. 

High Court Justice Datuk Ian Chin ruled that the High Court of Malaya and its subordinate courts had no jurisdiction over any offences committed in Sabah. 

“Since the offences were allegedly committed in Sabah, it is against the Federal Constitution and the Court of Judicature Act to transfer the case to the High Court in Malaya, and the Sessions Court and High Court in Sabah have no power to do that,” he said. 

Justice Chin held that the Constitution clearly provided for the country’s two High Courts – one for Sabah and Sarawak and the other for the peninsula. 

“In so far as their jurisdictions are concerned, it is limited locally; that is, the jurisdiction of the Malaya High Court should be confined to the territory of Malaya while that of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak would be confined to the territories of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said. 

Justice Chin said the separate jurisdictions had its good points as an accused person could be “ruined” in terms of the costs if he was staying in Sabah while his trial was in Kuala Lumpur. 

“An accused person, whether he is rich or poor, would be at an disadvantage in having to face charges so far away from home and from the place where he was supposed to have committed the offence,” he said. 

Justice Chin made the ruling following a reference from a Sessions Court here on whether it was subordinate only to the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak or the High Court of Malaya as well. 

Sessions Court Judge Datuk Nurchaya Arshad made the reference following an application by the Public Prosecutor to transfer the corruption trial of Wasli, the former Sabah Land Development Board general manager, to the Kuala Lumpur High Court.  

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