KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 9): Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Lokman Nor Adam's (pictured) comments about Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin were not only tantamount to threatening the witness of an ongoing trial and other potential witnesses, but also an act of undermining the administration of justice, former federal court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram told the High Court here today.

Sri Ram, who wants to have Lokman's application to set aside the court's leave for contempt proceedings be commenced against him dismissed, said it was wrong for a person to make comments regarding court proceedings.

"He made a comment that all of Najib's trial should be stopped and the ongoing case (trials) is rubbish. This amounted to an interference in the administration of justice," he pointed out.

"Being a loud mouth is one thing, but you must act within the confines of the law," Sri Ram said.

He further said the attorney-general and the prosecution are entitled to make the application to initiate contempt proceedings against Lokman as they were acting in defence of the court.

"It is absurd that the court would be required to issue the notice (to cite someone for contempt) and [to] issue a notice again after leave has been gained. The prosecution's issuance of a notice should be akin to a letter of demand or a notice before action is taken," he said.

"Here, the contemptor (Lokman) is said to have committed contempt in the face of the court and hence, the notice has to be issued (by the prosecution)," he said.

The prosecution wanted the Umno member be cited for contempt for lodging a police report against Amhari, who at that time was testifying in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial. Lokman accused the witness of receiving money from fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, and had called for an investigation on the witness. He also uploaded a video repeating his allegations in the report.

Lokman's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, meanwhile, argued that the court should have been the one to issue the notice to cite Lokman for contempt, and not the prosecution. Citing Order 52, Rule 2A and 2B of the Rules of Court 2012, the lawyer said that should be the proper way to initiate such proceedings.

"Hence, the notice given by the prosecution should be considered defective as it is not the court who initiate this, and our application to set aside the ex-parte to cite our client for contempt should be allowed," he said.

Shafee also said the prosecution had failed to specify what in particular they found contemptuous in Lokman's police report and video.

Amhari was the eighth prosecution witness in the 1MDB trial. Lokman lodged the police report challenging Amhari's credibility as a witness following the latter's admission on the witness stand that he had received a US$200,000 loan from Low.

Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah has set Jan 14 (next Tuesday) to deliver his decision.

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