PUTRAJAYA: Twenty-one people, including a solicitor, have been fined RM2.15mil for contempt of court in a case related to plagiarism of a civil judgment.
“They have subverted the administration of justice and undermined public confidence of the judiciary,” Federal Court judge Justice Suriyadi Halim Omar said.
The Federal Court on Aug 7, 2014 allowed the Attorney-General to take over the contempt of court proceedings against Datuk V.K. Lingam and 24 others for alleging that a panel of three judges plagiarised a civil judgment.
The case involved a tussle over the shares of a company.
Yesterday, Lingam was absent from court proceedings.
His lawyer R. Thayalan said Lingam was in the United States for medical treatment.
(Lingam has been barred from practising law over a video clip controversy in 2007 for having influenced judicial appointments).
Justice Suriyadi, who chaired a five-man panel, said they had considered the admission of the 21 people over the crime and their unreserved apologies for their mistakes.
He fined each of the 20 people RM100,000 while solicitor A.S. Thisinayagam was fined RM150,000.
At the outset yesterday, lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who acted for 12 majority contributories of the family investment holding company, asked the court to consider his clients’ age, medical condition, their apologies and promise not to repeat the offence.
Lead counsel Datuk David Gurupatham, who acted for 11 minority contributories, argued that his clients merely followed the advice of their solicitor and never intended to insult the court.
Speaking to reporters later, Senior Federal Counsel Alice Loke said she would write to the registrar for case management for the remaining four others, saying the contempt proceedings had not ended yet against them.
On April 3, 2012, the Federal Court granted leave to two liquidators to initiate contempt proceedings against Lingam and 24 others over a review application on issues of plagiarism.
Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria had held then that a prima facie case had been made out by two liquidators to grant leave to them to commit Lingam, the 12 majority contributories and 11 minorities involved in the tussle over the company shares, and a former solicitor who acted for the minority in the matter, for contempt of court.
The two liquidators – Ooi Woon Chee and Ng Kim Tuck – had sought leave for Lingam to be committed for contempt of court for advising, drafting and/or filing the review application and its related affidavit at the apex court over a civil judgment concerning a sale of the company shares.
They also sought leave to commit former Kian Joo Can Factory Bhd group managing director Datuk See Teow Chuan for contempt of court for instructing, affirming and/or authorising the filing of the review application.
In its Feb 13, 2012 review application, See and 13 others urged the Federal Court to review a civil judgment concerning the sale of company shares, claiming there were issues of plagiarism.
See and the others are the majority contributories of family investment holding company Kian Joo Holdings Sdn Bhd, which was ordered by a High Court to wind up in 1996.