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.


abdulhalimshah said...

Akhi Norzah,
Inasmuch I would like to see the restoration of confidence in the Judiciary, this particular case in point alone does not qualify as such. They say a swallow does not make a summer, and you should recall the case of the former MB of Perak from PR who won the case at the High Court but overturned on the Apellate Court. So we have to wait and see if there is going to be a repeat, and I am sure it will not happen too soon because of the coming GE13. So the powers that be will just let the matter takes it course and hope that they will continue to hold power and the game will be repated. I am not overoptimistic on the return of the Independence of the Judiciary, not until all the means have been exhausted by the aggrieved party.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
While acknowledging the disappointment and respecting the expectations of Saiful's family I for one would like to see a finality on this. Most are utterly fed-up with it.

If he becomes PM we know what issues he would support. We need not see a committal to prison to be told officially what he is.I'm just not bothered what he is or is not. Both are answerable to the Almighty and one is lying! And both know it. That's the secret they both unwittingly share!


norzah said...

I'm sure many share your skepticism on the Sodomy II judgement indicating a return of the Judiciary to it's former independence and authoritativeness, Akhi Halim. Yes the avenue is still open for the AG to appeal and the whole dirty process will start again, although the Bar Council has urged the AG not to do so. We had seen what happened to the exMB of Perak's case and we know what tipped the ice burgh in favor of the ruling party.

However, the Sodomy II trial offered us a lot to learn from for the future. So does the Ex MB of Selangor's case but the basis of judgement had not been well covered by the papers to help the public learn to understand how are refutable and non refutable facts established. My call is for the papers to help us improve our ability to differentiate between facts accepted by law and allegations which must be thrown overboard.
The papers themselves today are subjected to a lot of allegations on publishing unverified facts.

norzah said...

"Most of us are utterly fed up with it." So say many people about the sodomy II trial, Akhi Kaykuala, but life must go on and political figures will continue to find themselves in court to deny all sorts of allegations.
The public sometimes can never know the truth with all the half-truths that political maneuvers often require to be spun. The critical eyes of justice can certainly help to separate the acceptable and unacceptable admission of facts, making the courts' decision the reflection of truth that we must abide by.

So what the absolute truth is in matters of social, economic and political squabbles, no one knows but the Almighty as you pointed out. We can only depend on the Judiciary to give its judgment by which we are legally bound, willy nilly.

rambomadonna said...

I am among the fed up ones Norzah. Having said that, my gut feelings still say that the judgement not in any way trying to restore public confidence in the judiciary system, more towards avoiding bloodsheds or riots all over the country.

To me, sorry, the case is a sham from the very beginning. We can somehow figure out how the ending is (though this one got anti-climax a bit) ... instead of being shock and sympathetic. I felt that we have portrayed ourselves and the whole judiciary system being too focus on "seks luar tabii" of a leader sedangkan in some countries, leaders were being brought to court for all sorts of keganasan that is beyond humanity.

In fact some housing cases which i handled during my KPKT days deserved publicity due to many legal arguments (developers can afford good lawyers)...

So making this case as a guide and reference for future cases ... hmmm ... I guess media and press companies will be laughing their way to the bank.

Btw, a bit sleepy so kalau i tersalah cakap jangan marah ya Norzah ... mengambil masa untuk digest bahasa orang ilmiah ni hehehe

norzah said...

Thank you for a very gut-level response, Rambomadonna, a quality shared by all my friends and which I cherish very much. Yes, I agree there are many more court cases, more deserving to be highlighted in the papers than the Sodomy II case, because the public can learn from them about the working of the laws in this country and how the Judiciary functions.But the papers will always go for the more high profile ones, the sensational and even the ludicrous rather than those with more educational values.

If you believe that the Sodomy II case was a sham from the beginning than to say that the judgement was made in order to avoid "bloodshed or riots all over the country" is to admit that Malaysians can be riled up over something very spurious. In any case it caught the attention of almost the whole world. like no other case involving the politicians of this country. Whether it makes us Malaysians look like fools wrangling over something which many schoolboys can be guilty of or not, I leave it to the public to consider.

The fact is that everyone felt relieved it was over. The accused was vindicated and to everyone's surprise the Judiciary and the Government were given a thumb-up for the judgement made over it. But is it really over? The AG might appeal and we might be facing the tantrum and the shame again.

It is for that reason that I feel the public should know more about this and other cases where the outcome was quite contrary to the expectations of many. Hey, I'm not offended at all by your frank view, J. On the contrary I'm very pleased and grateful for your response.