Ex-Bar chief: Mere acquittal can’t sustain suit against Thomas

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A former Malaysian Bar president has reminded Umno that a mere acquittal of party leaders charged in court during the tenure of then attorney-general (AG) Tommy Thomas is insufficient to sustain a wrongful prosecution suit against him.

Salim Bashir said this in response to a call raised during the ongoing Umno annual general assembly (AGM) that Umno leaders who were charged in court during the tenure of then AG and been cleared should sue Thomas for malice and defamation.

“Generally, the discretion of (the AG’s) prosecutorial authority is non-justiciable (cannot be challenged in court) or else the AG will have to answer for every decision to prosecute in the court of law.

“Unless it is shown that his discretion is shrouded with malice and fraud.

“Acquittal of a charge alone does not mean that the institution of criminal proceedings was without reasonable and probable causes.

Malaysiakini

“Grant of acquittal alone and claiming innocence cannot sustain a suit of misfeasance in public office and malicious prosecution, because ideally, the reason for acquittal could be due to many aspects under the law.

“A person (who intends to sue an AG for alleged malicious prosecution) must show that the prosecution against him was initiated without reasonable cause and with malicious intentions to injure the accused and premised on grounds of blatant disregard to law and facts of the case,” Salim (above) told Malaysiakini recently.

Yesterday, in his policy speech at the wing’s AGM held at the Kuala Lumpur World Trade Centre, Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said party leaders charged in court during Thomas’ time as AG, who had since been cleared, should sue Thomas for malice and defamation.

He claimed that there was a clear element of selective prosecution and political influence in the country’s judiciary.

“Umno Youth wants the government to form a royal commission of inquiry to take strong action against all the disclosures made by Thomas, which had clearly shown elements of selective prosecution and even political influence in the judiciary.

“Umno Youth also would like to suggest to all Umno leaders who had since been acquitted by the court to come together and sue Thomas who had been proven to be malicious, aimed at humiliating and destroying Umno’s reputation by doing selective prosecution,” Asyraf said.

Thomas was appointed as AG after Pakatan Harapan came to power in 2018. He served until February 2020 before resigning when the Harapan federal government collapsed due to a political coup.

During Thomas’ service as the country’s top prosecutor, a slew of Umno leaders got charged in court.

They included former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, who had since been found guilty of seven counts of corruption-related charges and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

Other Umno leaders who were charged during Thomas’ tenure included Shahrir Samad, Ahmad Maslan, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, Musa Aman, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Bung Moktar Radin and Isa Samad.

Since then, several of them have been acquitted by the court, including Tengku Adnan, Shahrir and Ahmad. – Malaysiakini