Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Order for retrial of contempt proceedings against ex-returning officer set aside

Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed says Amino Agos Suyub should have been given the opportunity to be heard in his defence and the right to call any witness to support his defence.

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The Federal Court today set aside the Court of Appeal’s decision to order a retrial for contempt of court proceedings against a former returning officer for the Rantau constituency.

Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed, who chaired a three-member panel, said the appellate court’s order for a retrial was not proper as there was a denial of Amino Agos Suyub’s right to a fair trial.

In delivering the court’s unanimous decision, Azahar said the High Court’s refusal to allow Amino to call Daing Muhammad Rahimi Abdul Hamid as a witness was a gross violation of the rule of law.

He said Amino should have been given the opportunity to be heard in his defence and the right to call any witness to support his defence.

The panel, which included Federal Court judges Hasnah Mohammed Hashim and Rhodzariah Bujang, allowed Amino’s appeal to set aside the order for a retrial of the contempt of court proceedings against him.

Azahar, however, said the court agreed with the Court of Appeal’s decision to quash the Seremban High Court’s verdict on conviction and jail sentence.

Amino was jailed three months by the Seremban High Court in October 2018 for coaching a witness during the hearing of an election petition filed by PKR candidate Dr S Streram.

Amino was the returning officer for the Rantau state seat during the general election on May 9, 2018.

On May 17 last year, a three-man Court of Appeal panel led by Hamid Sultan Abu Backer sent the contempt proceedings for retrial before the same High Court judge, Azimah Omar.

Hamid partially allowed Amino’s appeal against the conviction and jail sentence on grounds that the rules of natural justice had been breached.

Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan retained the Rantau seat in a by-election on April 13 last year after defeating his three challengers, including Streram.

Amino’s lawyer G Rajasingam told reporters that following today’s decision, there were no more contempt of court proceedings against his client.

Also representing Amino were lawyers Sathya Kumardas and Sharon Jessy while lawyer Amin Othman represented Mohamad Hasan. Streram, who was present in court today, was not represented.

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