Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Sharuddin Wan Ladin made sub judice remarks when commenting outside the court on new corruption charges against former finance minister Lim Guan Eng, the politician’s lawyer said.
Gobind Singh Deo, representing Lim, said the defence will push for further action against the DPP for speaking out of turn yesterday.
Sub judice refers to a matter under judicial consideration and prohibited from public discussion.
“We will move the court for orders to deal with this next week. We are of the view that what he has done is clearly sub judice.
“So, bring it on. Let this be the ‘mother of all charges’ then. Let’s see what happens,” Gobind said in a statement.
After Lim, the MP for Bagan and DAP secretary-general, pleaded not guilty to two counts of misappropriation in Butterworth Sessions Court today, Wan Sharuddin was reported telling the media outside the courthouse that the charges were the “mother of all charges”.
The DPP also said that the prosecution was confident of a “99% chance of conviction, the other 1% is an act of God”.
“My response to this deputy public prosecutor is simple. Don’t be delusional,” said Gobind.
“If you only prefer charges in cases where you are 99% sure of convictions, then why don’t you see 99% convictions in all criminal prosecutions?” he said
Gobind, who is also Puchong MP, reiterated the defence’s position that there is no case against Lim and will fight it out in court.
“We will show in court that he is innocent of all the charges against him and we will show exactly what sort of a prosecution this is,” Gobind said.
Lim, who was formerly Penang chief minister, was today charged with two counts of using his position to misappropriate state-owned land worth RM209 million to companies related to the Penang undersea tunnel project.
The charges stated that he committed the offences in February 2015 and March 2017.
Lim pleaded not guilty and was released with a RM1 million bond with two sureties.
There are now four charges against Lim involving the undersea tunnel project. He was charged earlier on August 7 and 10.
There is also another charge of abusing his position to obtain gratification for his wife, Betty Chew.
Lim has maintained that all charges brought against him are politically motivated. – September 11, 2020.
Meanwhile, several lawyers have questioned Wan Sharuddin’s remarks, which they said were uncalled for.
Lawyer V Parthipan said it was unprecedented for a prosecutor to make such a statement when judges would be the ones deciding if a case would result in a conviction.
“If you have strong evidence, best to proceed with your evidence and arguments in court. Giving statements such as a ‘99% success rate’ are not necessary.
“It is as if we are pressuring the judge to convict the accused because you have a good case. Also, in the event that the DPP fails in convicting the accused, it would look bad on them,” he told FMT.
Lawyer Siti Zabedah Kasim said a DPP should seek to protect the innocent and convict the guilty, and respect the legal rights of all, including the accused.
“I hope in his zeal to prosecute, he does not fail to appreciate his obligations. I hope he is not driven by the impulse to punish the accused.
“There is no greater threat to the criminal justice system than that posed by an unethical prosecutor.
“A prosecutor is not only not bound to pursue a conviction at all cost, he is prohibited by the rules of ethics from intentionally undercutting the rights of the accused. The prosecutor is also obligated to do right by the accused,” she said.
Another lawyer, who did not want to be named, said the DPP’s statement was “highly irregular”, as most shied away from media attention to prevent “a trial by media” situation.
“This also begs the question of whether the learned attorney-general Idrus Harun sanctioned such a statement.
“Statements to the media, if any, should be to provide accurate facts for the consumption of public knowledge. Not for the airing of opinions and gut feelings of the prosecutor.
“The prosecutor’s opinion means nothing as his only job is to prosecute based on the available evidence obtained from the investigation,” he said.
Lim’s lead defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo said it was strange to see the very same prosecutors making comments on the case when they themselves had asked the court for a gag order before. No gag order has been issued by the courts so far.