Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chief Justice: Hotshot lawyers delaying cases(NST)

Chief Justice: Hotshot lawyers delaying cases Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 09:06am

Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul HalimSetahun kes lupus -- Selaras matlamat badan kehakiman selesaikan semua kes secepat mungkin
Why civil servants get court priority

©New Straits Times
by Joniston Bangkuai

Popular lawyers are contributing to the delays in some court cases.

Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said such lawyers sometimes had up to three cases a day.

As a result, they are unable to be present for some of the cases, resulting in the courts having to postpone the cases or set new dates for them.

"The court cannot proceed with a case if a lawyer is absent, as we have to be fair to the accused," Ahmad Fairuz told a Press conference yesterday on the sidelines of the two-day Sessions Court judges’ meeting here. Also present was the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Seri Richard Malanjum.

Attended by 78 Sessions Court judges from throughout the country, the meeting will see the presentation of several working papers.

A paper on integrity will be presented by Anti-Corruption Agency deputy director-general 1 Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan while Court of Appeal judge Datuk Low Hop Bing will speak on "Techniques in Writing Grounds of Judgment".

Ahmad Fairuz said the judicial system involved the court, the prosecutor and the accused and all three needed to co-operate to ensure the speedy disposal of cases.

"We are not blaming anybody or kicking the ball into other people’s court, as suggested by some quarters."

He also said that discussions between judges, court officials and the Bar Council were held every month to find ways to overcome the delays.

Ahmad Fairuz expects the Sessions Court judges’ meeting to identify factors causing delays in the disposal of cases and to find ways to address them.

The directive for speedier disposal of court cases involving civil servants will also be deliberated at the meeting.

"They may want to discuss why the directive was given and whether it constitutes discrimination."

However, he explained that the directive by the Chief Justice was not new as it was issued in 2004.

Ahmad Fairuz said it was worth noting the reaction in the media by some prominent lawyers who supported the need to expedite court cases involving government servants.

He said they had rightly pointed out that delays in the hearing of cases involving civil servants would result in wastage of public funds as the civil servants were paid half a month’s salary while their cases were pending.

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