Apparently, the accused was reciting the Quran at home when informed of today’s case management.
Former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) director-general Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid “forgot” about the scheduled case management of her criminal case at the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning and was not attempting to flee, according to her law firm.
Azam Aziz Shaharudinali & Co further took the blame for Hasanah’s absence, saying the firm too forgot to remind their client to be present.
She will seek to have the court cancel an arrest warrant that was issued after she “forgot” to show up today, her lawyer said.
“She was at home when the case is called and we have applied to court to adjourn the matter to afternoon for Hasanah to attend.
Hasanah’s lawyers – (L) Datuk Shaharudin Ali and Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz.
“But DPP objected [to] our application and applied for a warrant of arrest,” Hasanah’s lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying.
The arrest warrant was issued by Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah after deputy public prosecutor Mahadhir Mohd Khairudin made the application against Hasanah, 61, for her absence without giving any reason.
“The accused is absent. (Prior to this) she was released on bail in two sureties, but neither she nor her two bailers are present here today and there is no instruction from the court in relation to the absence. I apply for an arrest warrant to be issued,” said Mahadhir.
Hasanah’s lawyer Nur Aifaa Mohd Zain, however, apologised to the court and said that her client was absent because she (Nur Aifaa), as the lawyer, failed to inform the accused of the proceedings today due to a misunderstanding.
She said she thought there would be no proceedings today because the trial date for the case, which will commence on Feb 3, 2020, was fixed at the April 17 proceedings.
“As the lawyer, I apologise for my mistake,” she said.
Justice Sequerah fixed June 26 for mention of the arrest warrant and notice to the bailers.
Khairul argued that the prosecution should not have sought for the arrest warrant, as today was merely for a case management.
“This application was uncalled for because both parties have agreed with the trial dates fixed on February 2020 and today was just a case management to reconfirm the trial dates.
“Hasanah’s attendance is not necessary but the DPP won’t tolerate. So the court fixed 26 June 2019 for Hasanah to attend court and we will apply to set aside the warrant of arrest,” he said.
The legal firm also chided news reports on the arrest warrant for “giving the impression” that Hasanah wanted to run away from prosecution.
In fact, the firm said, the accused was reciting the Quran at home when informed of today’s affair.
Another lawyer for Hasanah, Datuk Shaharudin Ali, said that the situation today was essentially a “genuine mistake”.
“This is a case management where both parties will have to come to court and get a date, to show our diary and get a date and it will finish in three minutes. We didn’t know this date-taking will lead to a warrant of arrest.
“Our client was not aware of it, we genuinely believed there was really no need for the accused to come to court because it was just a case management.
“The practice from court to court in this country differs, some courts insist that accused persons attend court; some courts do not insist as long as they have lawyers to represent them and that the lawyers confirm that they are not running away or they are not hiding, it’s fine.
“This is not a trial. A trial will need to be attended by an accused person. This is just a case management, getting dates; so I think, for me, with the greatest of respect, it is unreasonable for the DPP to insist on a warrant of arrest,” he was quoted as saying.