PUTRAJAYA (Jan 14): The Federal Court has today dismissed an appeal by former Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Nor Adam (pictured) to set aside the High Court's decision granting leave to initiate contempt proceedings against him.
The five-member bench led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ruled the notice given by the prosecution in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case had fulfilled all the requirements needed.
"There is compliance to rule 2B of Order 52 of Rules of Court 2012. On the issue of whether the enclosure of the charge filed by the respondents, we find it to be adequate.
"There is sufficient grounds that he needs to answer and defend himself. There is no prejudice to the appellant Lokman. There is no reason for us to disturb the findings of the court below.
"Hence, the appeal is dismissed," said Tengku Maimun in proceedings that were conducted online.
The others on the bench in the unanimous decision were Federal Court Justices Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli, Puan Sri Zaleha Yusof and Datuk Seri Hasnah Mohamed Hashim.
With today's decision, Lokman will have to face High Court Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah, who is also the presiding trial judge in the 1MDB case on Jan 27 for mention.
His counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah have asked the apex court bench to write a judgment following today's decision.
Lokman is alleged to have threatened Datuk Seri Najib Razak's former aide Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin in a video recording, which is the subject of the contempt proceeding initiated against him by the prosecution.
The prosecution in the 1MDB trial alleged that Lokman's act in lodging a police report on Amhari and threatening former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, who was the next witness after Amhari, was tantamount to threatening witnesses or potential witnesses testifying in the trial.
Shafee had earlier argued that the notice given by the prosecution on his client was defective as it is the court that should be issuing the notice as this concerns the administration of justice. “It is not any other parties who can issue such notice to show cause, as he argued on the issue of Order 52 Rule 2B of Rules of Court 2012.”
The senior lawyer also said the prosecution should stipulate particulars as to the purported allegation made against his client and not only claim on what was recorded in the video.
“We do not know who recorded the video or what the complaint is or the charge is,” Shafee said.
Order 52 should be read in its entirety
Former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram who is leading the prosecution said Rule 52 should be read in its entirety and not in a segmented or compartmentalised way.
“It is either the party or the court itself who can draft the notice. The court can do so if the contempt is on the face of the court. It is the party who may understand the true nature of the complaint in filing the notice to the person complained off. It is not necessary for the court to be burden off this task.” he said, adding the notice issued by the prosecution was proper and should be accepted,
Furthermore, Sri Ram said the prosecution has appended an appendix of the transcript of the said video where Lokman is alleged to have said those words that we complained off.
“What he said is a direct attack on our witnesses including Amhari and Shahrol who are testifying in this trial. If he does this at every stage, all our (prosecution) witnesses will be intimidated,”said Sri Ram.
Hence, the senior DPP submitted that the notice was not defective and ample and fair notice or details was given to Lokman to answer the contempt allegation which he has acknowledged.
The High Court had on Oct 23, 2019, granted leave for the prosecution to initiate contempt proceedings against Lokman and the politician failed to set-aside leave on Jan 14, last year.
The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal on May 13, last year, resulting in this appeal.
Then Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas had on Sept 25, 2019, complained and initiated leave for contempt against Lokman in the video interview in what they say constitutes an expressed or implied threat against Amhari for his evidence against Najib in the 1MDB trial.
The object or purpose of the Lokman’s act in lodging the police report and video, said the former AG, was to harass and intimidate Amhari, and any potential witnesses who may come forward to give evidence in the 1MDB trial.
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