Tuesday, 1 February 2011

[Malaysian Bar:3088] Press Release: Justice is not measured by speed or statistics but by a full and fair hearing and a reasoned decision

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From: Bar Council <council@malaysianbar.org.my>
Date: 31 January 2011 17:40
Subject: [Malaysian Bar:3088] Press Release: Justice is not measured by speed or statistics but by a full and fair hearing and a reasoned decision
To: malaysianbar@googlegroups.com


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Press Release
 
Justice is not measured by speed or statistics but by a full and fair hearing and a reasoned decision
 
The decisions of the Magistrate in the private summons case involving Ryan Chong Yiing Yih and Darren Choy Khin Ming, to proceed with the hearing on 28 Jan 2011 although counsel for the accused was clearly ill, and when counsel was taken to the hospital, to proceed to fix further hearing dates without consulting the free dates of the ailing counsel, were uncalled for.

Such decisions are clearly contrary to the principle of a full and fair hearing, and natural justice.

This was not the first occasion the Magistrate ignored the principle of right to counsel. On a previous occasion, he brought forward the originally fixed trial dates of March 2011 to early January without considering the availability of counsel and witness.

Such a pattern of behaviour smacks of blind obsession with speedy justice without any heart or regard to justice to the parties.

The right to a full and fair trial must by necessity include the litigant or accused's right to counsel of choice, and therefore, the fixing of a hearing date must take into consideration the availability of counsel on the proposed date.

It is in recognition of this simple principle that the Chief Justice, on behalf of the Judiciary, had agreed in various discussions with the Bar, that, with regard to the issue of hearing dates and postponements:

(a) hearing dates for cases, which have already been fixed by the court with the agreement of counsel, should not be brought forward without the consent of the parties involved;

(b) in the exceptional circumstance where the court intends to change a hearing date that has been fixed, lawyers must be informed in writing at least one month in advance and the change of date can only be done with the consent of all parties; and

(c) Judges must exercise their discretion in considering applications for adjournments.

The Malaysian Bar regrets that it has to state the obvious, that Judges are reminded that justice is to be dispensed through a full and fair hearing, and not speed and quantity of cases disposed of.


Lim Chee Wee
Vice-President
Malaysian Bar

31 Jan 2011



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