Former Lawyer VK Lingam Sentenced in Absentia to Jail for Contempt

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The Federal Court sentenced Datuk VK Lingam to six months in jail after he was found guilty of contempt over claims of plagiarism in a written judgment from 2012.

  • Had been skipping court since 2013
  • Claimed couldn’t find a lawyer to represent him
  • Provided a forged US medical report that stated he was unfit for travel 
  • Renewed his passport in London in June

In a unanimous decision on Nov 14, Justice Abu Samah Nordin, who chaired a five-man panel, said a warrant of committal would be issued against Lingam.

The former senior lawyer, who was implicated in a judicial fixing case by a royal commission of inquiry in 2007, has been skipping court since 2013 over the contempt charge.

The Star

On Nov 8, the day scheduled for Lingam’s review and contempt proceeding, Malaysiakini reported that he had written to the Federal Court asking for an adjournment, citing difficulties he faced in appointing a lawyer to represent him.

It was reported on Sept 27 that the Federal Court had found that a medical report obtained by Lingam from a hospital in the United States to secure his absence in his contempt of court proceedings was forged.

“This is our finding. The document is forged. We reject the postponement and will continue with the hearing,” said Justice Suriyadi Halim Omar.

Lawyer R Thayalan, who represented Lingam, informed the Bench that he had no instructions to proceed with the case without his client’s presence, to which Justice Suriyadi said it meant that his client (Lingam) was very confident the court will postpone the hearing.

“My client knows about the case. I don’t want to get any disciplinary action for acting without his presence. Therefore, I discharge myself from representing him (Lingam),” Thayalan said, adding that he will inform Lingam that he has to be present on Nov 8.

Justice Suriyadi said Lingam must be present on that day and if he did not appear, the court will proceed with the hearing without his presence.

Earlier, Thayalan had said the medical report dated May 10 this year stated that Lingam was unfit for a long period of travel as he had suffered a hip fracture and back pain.

Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Amarjeet Singh informed the court that based on the Immigration Department’s records, Lingam had left Malaysia on Dec 23, 2013, and there was no record of him returning home.

Zulkifli Ersal/Sunpix

He said the records showed Lingam had renewed his passport in London on June 14, 2017, a month after the medical report was issued.

“This means that he (Lingam) is fit to travel and can be present in this proceeding today,” said Amarjeet.

In the case, the Bench fined Lim Ah Eng, 88, and Doris See Siew Lian, in her 70s, who are minority shareholders of KJCF, RM100,000 each or eight months’ jail for contempt when they pleaded guilty.

The legal dispute that led to the contempt proceedings in the case began in 2009 when the respondents went to the High Court after a rival company, Can-One International Sdn Bhd won the tender to purchase a 32.9% stake in KJFC.

The respondents failed in the High Court to stop Can-One from acquiring the shares.

However, the Court of Appeal reversed the decision.

The case was then taken to the Federal Court where a three-member panel of judges ruled in favour of the liquidators and the respondents filed a review, citing plagiarism in the court’s written judgment, but it was dismissed by the Federal Court on May 22, 2013.