SHAH ALAM (Bernama): The Sessions Court here on Thursday (Oct 28) acquitted and discharged three legal practitioners, including a former judge on a charge with accepting bribe of RM17,500 two years ago.
They are former Kuala Kubu Bharu Sessions Court judge Azmil Muntapha Abas, 47; former deputy public prosecutor Khairul Azhwa Yusri Mohamad, 34, and a lawyer, Noor Amirul Nazreen Anas, 33.
Judge Rihaida Rafie ordered the three men to be released after finding that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against them at the end of the prosecution case.
She said the prosecution had failed to prove the main element of the charge, namely that all the accused had agreed to accept the bribe from Wong Chiew Hoong on the date, time and place as stated in the charge.
"The court found that there was no discussion or communication between the first, second and third accused (regarding corruption) and even at the final stage of the case, the witnesses could not say that the money was agreed as gratification for the third accused (Azmil Muntapha) to impose a fine (in a case involving illegal immigrants),” she added.
She said no evidence was submitted to show that Khairul Azhwa Yusri (second accused) and Azmil Muntapha knew about the existence of the money.
The prosecution also failed to prove that Azmil Muntapha, when he was Kuala Kubu Bharu Sessions Court Judge, received the bribe as gratification to only impose fine on the seven illegal immigrants in the case, she added.
Similarly, she said, it was not mentioned by any of the witnesses on Noor Amirul (third accused) having received the money as gratification during the prosecution case.
"There was also contradictions in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, including the main witness, SP26, where the court found that the investigating officer's investigation was weak and not comprehensive," she added.
Rihaida said the prosecution only managed to prove the first element of the charge where Khairul Azhwa Yusri and Azmil Muntapha were civil servants who were each serving in the Kuala Kubu Bharu Court at the time.
According to the charge, the three men were accused of accepting bribes amounting RM17,500 from one Wong Chiew Hoong, 40, as an inducement to Azmil Muntapha to mete out a lighter sentence in the form of fine to seven illegal immigrants who had been charged under Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63.
Azmil Muntapha, Khairul Azhwa Yusri and Noor Amirul Nazreen were alleged to have committed the offence at the Kuala Kubu Bharu Sessions Court between 9.30am and to 2.45pm on July 17. - Bernama