Friday, March 12, 2010

Legal lion roars and mauls

THE integrity of the judiciary has been badly mauled by a legal lion who does not mince his words no matter how high or mighty a judge thinks he is.

In recent comments in news portals, former Court of Appeal judge N H Chan has called certain members of the judiciary 'incompetent' and even 'an idiotic bunch!'

Chief Justice Zaki Azmi and the judges at the Palace of Justice have remained mum, mute and mumble amongst themselves as Chan methodically makes them out for who they really are and the mockery they have made of the law!

zaki-azmi-nh-chanThe respected, renowned and retired judge is very frustrated, fed-up and furious at how the judiciary which he had served so faithfully has been reduced to a farce run by those he called legal and intellectual frauds or 'imposters.'

With each passing compromised judgment Chan unhesitatingly hits out at judges with an increasingly sharper sting.

He leaves no stone unturned, no errant judge uncovered. They can 'no longer mask their hyperbole judgments with unintelligible garbage.'

Fools on the bench

Chan said in his latest scathing critique that the rakyat is "stunned by the ignorance of our judges of the highest court in the land."

This, he claimed, was seen in the recent Federal Court’s decision not to review Anwar Ibrahim’s application to review its previous decision dismissing his application for disclosure of documents for his second sodomy trial.

Chan said the Federal Court’s approach to Rule 137 of the Rules of the Federal Court 1995 was 'inconsistent' and 'dishonest' and 'those ignoramuses' were talking 'utter nonsense.'

Calling the three-member panel of Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff and Heliliah Mohd Yusof 'incompetent', he added: "Perhaps, they are clowns as their statements are laughable”.

His searing criticism was that they "do not know justice from injustice” and that “such lowly individuals should never be allowed to sit on the seat of Justice…(and) to be judges at all.

"And yet there are so many of them in the judiciary today ever since the rot begun.”

"The common citizenry can now uncover the impostors hiding beneath the mantle of the judicature.

"They have put themselves beyond the pale. Just like pariahs. Don’t you think they should be despised?” he asked.

On the rejection by High Court judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah of Anwar’s application to have the judge recuse himself from further hearing the sodomy trial, Chan said that the judge was talking “utter nonsense” and “knew next to nothing about judicial bias”.

He added that the “moral of this unsavoury episode” is: if you appoint mediocre lawyers to the Bench you will get substandard judges.

The solution to this problem, he said, is simple. "Appoint judges from the cream of the legal profession and you will not find me assailing the judges for incompetence simply because I will not be able to do so.”

Spares no judges

Chan had not spared the judges in the cases related to the Perak constitutional crisis of his very strong language when scrutinising their decisions (with the exception of Kuala Lumpur High Court Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim whom he had praised).

During the Perak debacle Chan had said that there are “many of our judges today, especially among those judges in the higher echelon of the judicial hierarchy, who do not seem to know the true meaning of separation of powers in constitutional law.

He called some of the judges of the cases of the Perak imbroglio:

Bad judges – "They seem to think that independence means that they can do what they like”

Recalcitrant judges – "They think that words can mean whatever they want them to mean”

Humpty Dumpty judges – "They also think that they are independent of the legislature”.

Chan said the Perak crisis showed that the judges gave the impression that they were one-sided. "The perception of the people is that they sided with the Barisan Nasional government.”

Reputation of the judiciary

The public shares his view. In their eyes the judiciary has allowed itself to be intimidated, its independence and impartiality interfered with, and its integrity reduced to ignominy.

In the light of Chan's severe criticism of the judiciary (which is quite unprecedented by a retired judge), surely the Chief Justice cannot stand idly, silently and stoically by – unless Zaki strenuously, staunchly and solemnly agrees with him!

Further if Zaki continues to remain silent the public will assume that he shares Chan's searing criticism of the judiciary. Logically he would have to resign for he has allowed the reputation of the judiciary to be sullied irreparably.

The judicial shenanigans who Chan has criticized and castigated should also resign for having shamelessly sacrificed justice on the altar of political expediency.

Chan’s comments on members of the judiciary have no doubt been bold, blunt and blistering. He has accused judges of being blind, biased and being a bunch of 'idiots' and 'fools.'. He has thrown the gauntlet down.

If the CJ disagrees with Chan’s criticisms he should haul the former Court of Appeal judge into court and demand that the latter shows cause for why he should not be cited for contempt! Will Zaki take up the gauntlet or will he prefer to allow the judicial circus to go on?

Chan has made no bones about it. His blitzkrieg on the judiciary will continue.

“Bad guys” beware! He will ensure that their names remain in infamy for generations to come unless they recant the wrongs that they have done!

He commented: “At the present time and judging by what we have experienced so far from the Perak takeover cases, the quality of most of our judges is suspect”.

The views expressed are that of the writer Martin Jalleh and do not reflect the stand of the Malaysian Mirror.

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