QUESTION NO. 3:
Dr. S. Ramakrishnan ask the PRIME MINISTER to state why the last few years many high profile cases brought to court have failed when the accused is acquitted on technical grounds is trivial while more than adequate proof for sentencing. What are the government’s actions to ensure transparency and fairness in the judiciary and enhance the credibility of attorney general.
YB DATUK LIEW YUI KEONG
THE DEPUTY MINISTER IN THE PRIME MINISTER’S DEPARTMENT
The Public Prosecutor has heavy burden in carrying out a criminal trial. Prosecutor is responsible to review all the relevant facts submitted by the investigating agency.
It is difficult to say exactly the high profile cases as the purpose of high-profile case is different and the determination of whether a case is high profile cases or not is subjective. High-profile case may be referred to as a case involving a person who has the rank or position in government, an organization or they are known to the public in general, either as criminals or as victims of crime. Besides that, some people might interpret the high-profile case is different from what was stated before and probably think that the high profile cases referred to the crime itself or in terms of frequent media reports of interest to the public to know. For example, the case involving the murder of Canny Ong, even about ordinary person, but it becomes high-profile cases because of extensive media reports about the case has attracted the attention of the public. The cases investigated by the Commission of Malaysia Corruption involving high-ranking party whether in government or organization is also classified as high-profile cases.
Accordingly, the Public Prosecutor took the view that all cases have the necessary elements of public interest and be given equal attention. Only when the public prosecutor is satisfied that the evidence collected to prove strong enough and the alleged offense, then a charge will be made in court.
Such acquittal or conviction the accused in any criminal proceeding subject to the assessment and acceptance of the Court will of all witness testimony and evidence presented in the entire proceedings.
In general, the factors that contributed to the failure to obtain a conviction for a case, regardless of whether it is said to be high profile or not, are:
(a) weakness of the method of investigation of cases involving evidence and material evidence may be admitted;
(b) key witnesses disappear or fail to be detected; and
(c) Lack of advocacy skills by the officer handling the prosecution case.
The Government is very sensitive to the need to maintain public interest in any situation. Among the steps taken to enhance the credibility of the Attorney General are as follows;
(a) Task forces established in the Department of the Attorney General and senior officials with experience in the prosecution to allow the Deputy Public Prosecutor (TPR) to advise and monitor any of the information obtained in connection with the case to ensure the thorough investigation and prosecution of cases carried out by efficiency and high quality.
In the early stages of investigation, TPR can provide guidance to the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) to identify the signs/evidences should be obtained to strengthen the prosecution case and the means of obtaining the relevant explanations. With this, the police investigation will be more focused.
Furthermore, TPR will determine only explanations that are relevant and valid in law can be received and used for the determination of whether a prosecution should be made or otherwise.
With the involvement of TPR in the early stages will ensure that all information will be handled properly to be used at trial. This will also ensure that all evidence against an accused would be presented to the court.
The Royal Malaysian Police, Bukit Aman has also established a task force to work with team officials in charge of the Attorney General to ensure that the evidence in a criminal case can be handled with the proper start of the investigation until the trial stage;
(b) ensure a comprehensive ongoing training given to the TPR to improve their skills in areas such as DNA analysis, drugs, autopsy, terrorism, transnational crime and economic crime and so on whether within countries or in countries like Thailand, United Kingdom, and United State;
(c) plan and continue existing cooperation with the University of Nottingham Trent, United Kingdom and the University of Wollongong, Australia for providing graduate programs and courses in the prosecution;
(d) steps were taken to improve the quality of investigations conducted by the Police through courses and training in relation to the investigation of commercial crime, sexual, and cyber and forensic as well as investigation of field sites;
(e) Basic training to improve the effectiveness of the investigation while conducting the investigation as a whole.
In addition, it should be stressed here that the government could not interfere in the judiciary and the Attorney General’s duty under the doctrine of separation of powers which are been practiced in national government structure whereby the Executive Board are not entitled to and shall not affect any actions and decisions of the Judiciary and the Body Legal.