Judge concerned over missing court notes

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 13 May 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: A High Court judge has advised an officer-in-charge of court records to lodge a police report on the missing notes of evidence of three material prosecution witnesses and a document for the case of Tenaganita Sdn Bhd director Irene Fernandez.

Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali said he was concerned after finding out from the officer that the notes and the exhibit could not be traced.

“There is a high possibility that the loss of the notes of proceedings and the exhibit could have occurred in Jalan Raja (old court building).

“The question of the (documents) to have been dropped out during the relocation (from the old court building to Jalan Duta court complex last year) did not arise,” he told the packed courtroom.

Yesterday was fixed for direction of the appeal after the same court was informed on April 1 that over 1,700 documents pertaining to the case were not compiled in the record of appeal.

He said the three prosecution witnesses were district engineer for Semenyih detention camp Tan On Chin, Dr N. Raman, who was then Tanjung Rambutan director and chief psychiatrist and the camp’s male nurse N. Vejayan.

Justice Mohamed Apandi said he was in the predicament to hear an appeal by Fernandez following the missing notes and exhibit as several questions may arise due to this.

Fernandez had been sentenced to 12 months’ jail by a magistrate’s court for maliciously publishing false news in 1995.

Magistrate Juliana Mohamad had on Oct 16, 2003, said that the prosecution, through its witnesses, had successfully established Fernandez as the publisher of the news.

Fernandez was convicted of maliciously publishing a memorandum entitled “Abuse, Torture, and Dehumanised Treatment of Migrant Workers at Detention Camps,’’ which contained 16 statements that were found to be false.

She was said to have committed the offence at Tenaganita’s office in Lorong Bunus Enam, off Jalan Masjid India, on Aug 25, 1995.

Therefore, Justice Mohamed Apandi said he wanted to hear submissions from both parties on the issue of the lost of part of the notes of the proceedings where the record of appeal could not be completed.

“I want to hear submissions on the incomplete record of appeal, what are the next legal effects, course of action for judiciary and discretionary power given to me for justice to be done in such circumstances,” he said.

The judge said it would be interesting to know what will be the legal implications due to the loss of court documents and set June 11 to hear submissions from both parties.

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