Tuesday, January 10, 2012
A Famous Judgement....
The legal literature is full of famous judgements. In fact legal arguments invariably involve the citation of past cases and judgments. The judgment made in regard to the Sodomy II case of Datuk Seri Anwar has all the qualities of becoming a famous reference and citation in the future since it went against many predictions and the hope of the accused political opponents. It portrays a judgment not in any way influenced by public sentiments or the political climate of the day - a very independent judgement based on the facts of the case.
It has been received with great relief and joy by many and has restored public faith on the independence of the Judiciary amidst the political equivocation of the day. It has even won international acclamation. If DSAI's political opponents and enemies in government had been disappointed by the judgement, they should be most happy to hear that it has returned public confidence in the Judiciary system and, ipso facto, the government itself in as far as it's supposed to uphold the principles of democracy and the separation of the executive and judiciary.
A landmark in legal history should be based on a lot of legal arguments and elucidations. Hence the basis of the judgement should be published in full to serve as a guide and reference for future cases as well as to clear any doubts that now exist on the legal points involved. The lawyers will need it for future citation while the public will need it in order to appreciate some of the basic considerations to differentiate between "acceptable" and "non acceptable" allegations, if not between admissible and not admissible evidence. This is important since today the papers are full of allegations by opposing political parties based on rumors spread out at the grassroots level. As such it is difficult to ascertain what can be believed, what must be taken with a pinch of salt, and what can be summarily dismissed as "unacceptable".
In other words the public must learn to sieve what is possibly true and what is not in reading today's news, We are not lawyers but at least we must be equipped with the basic knowledge in regard to the rules of being skeptical about things and not swallow everything as the gospel truth. This applies more to the less educated, to whom the newspapers are the primary means of getting information together with the radio and TV. Talk about becoming a high income nation, we must also have an informed society. Such a society must be able to differentiate between rumors and possible happenings, fictions and facts, lies and verifiable truths.
Otherwise we end up with a highly gullible society which can be easily swayed by a smooth talker, a conman and of course, the irresponsible politicians who would do anything to become popular and get elected.
Arguments in courts on points of law if properly reported can become a very effective means of education in logic and critical analysis. They can make the public more legal minded and capable of analyzing for themselves the tangled web of social and political happenings as reported in the papers. They can make people more fact-oriented and less susceptible to the influence of rumors and half truths, if not outright lies.
To move in this direction the publication of deliberations in court and basis of judgement if properly reported in the newspapers, can be a great help. Such reporting by journalista trained in covering legal proceedings will not only make people understand the legal arguments involved but also clear any doubt with regard to the final decision of the court, especially where political interference is suspected. Rumors say that Saiful's father is urging the Attorney General to appeal against the Sodomy II judgement. That might start a Sodomy III proceeding which will cost the nation more money and time. The public should be able to participate in evaluating whether that is necessary at all or not in the name of upholding justice in this country by understanding fully the basis of the High Court decision as it is now.
Otherwise the aggrieved party will continue to appeal with the support of DSAI's enemies causing a revival of all the agitations and mistrusts in this country, all because of one man's allegation that he has (willingly) been sodomized.