Home Media statements 2013 Media Statements Demanding that the accused prove innocence is utter rubbish!

Demanding that the accused prove innocence is utter rubbish!

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Ranjit Singh’s ridiculous position that Anwar and Karpal prove their innocence turns upside-down the basic presumption that an accused is innocent until proven guilty, asserts P Ramakrishnan.

Ranjit Singh
Ranjit Singh

The accepted legal norm is that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. That is the basic law. That is the golden thread of the law. That is the basis of justice.

It appears that Ranjit Singh Dhillon, the Penang Bar Committee’s criminal law chairman, has totally ignored this time-honoured principle by demanding that Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Karpal Singh declare their assets to prove their innocence. This is ridiculous!

If this was Ranjit Singh’s personal view, that would be of no consequence. But this view was stated in his capacity as an official of the Penang Bar – that makes it preposterous!

Malaysians would like to know if the Penang Bar shares Ranjit’s absurd view or does it disassociate itself from this view? This must be stated immediately and clearly. Malaysians should not be left wondering what has happened to the Penang Bar. Isn’t justice and fairness the paramount concern of the Bar? This must rightly be so.

Ranjit’s sober position should have been to ask the accuser to make a police report and provide the MACC with the so-called evidence in his possession that suggests that there was corruption in the conduct of these two Pakatan leaders. In this manner, he would have facilitated the commencement of criminal investigation by both the police and the MACC. Unfortunately, Ranjit did not do this. He did not promote the cause of justice.

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What are the facts?

The defeated candidate for the Permatang Pauh constituency during the GE 13, Dr Mazlan Ismail of the Barisan Nasional, had revealed on 2 July 2013 that he had received more than 6,000 anonymous letters alleging that Anwar had paid Karpal Singh RM50m since 2008 as fees and money to bribe the judges and prosecutors in order to be acquitted in the ‘Sodomy II’ case.

According to Mazlan, each letter was eight pages long and contained copies of savings account numbers of various banks and amounts belonging to Anwar. It was also mentioned that payment was made to Karpal via cheques.

In all, Mazlan amazingly received 48,000 pages! All these letters, it seems, had similar allegations. Why then the need for so many similar letters to state the same allegations? Was a syndicate involved in this scam to churn out letters and post them to denigrate opposition politicians?

It would appear that some mischief-makers are on the prowl, committed to a clandestine plot to defame these two opposition leaders. Incredibly, Ranjit takes this very seriously as though some damning evidence had truly been disclosed by these plotters which could seriously implicate Anwar and Karpal!

One would have expected the Chief Justice to immediately defend the good name of the judiciary and the integrity of the judges and condemn this bizarre allegation that Karpal had bribed the judges. It is sad that this wasn’t the case. Since Anwar was acquitted in the Sodomy II trial, what is the implication concerning the allegation? Was the allegation made to create the impression that the judges were indeed bribed to acquit Anwar?

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It would have been keeping with justice had the Attorney-General ordered a full and thorough probe into this serious allegation. The public prosecutors from the AG’s Chambers have been accused of being bought. It reflects very badly on the AG’s Chambers. He is duty-bound to safeguard the integrity of his officials. But there is no evidence to suggest that he has acted in any meaningful manner to establish the integrity of his Chambers.

Shouldn’t the police and the MACC have investigated this allegation of bribing – which has profound consequences for our nation? After all, it has been disclosed that these letters contained details of the bank savings accounts and amounts involved. Why have these two institutions failed to act?

Instead of demanding that Mazlan should provide evidence to substantiate his allegations, Ranjit is demanding that both Anwar and Karpal disclose their assets. Is this how the judicial system functions – by asking the accused to prove their innocence? This appears to be cock-eyed justice that will not have any credibility.

As Anwar and Karpal are well-known political personalities, many are just waiting for this kind of trash to make political capital of it.

True to form, Utusan Malaysia jumped into the fray, picking up Ranjit’s version of justice and has gone to town with front page coverage demanding the very thing that Ranjit wanted, i.e., Anwar and Karpal to make public their assets.

Utusan wasn’t interested that these are baseless allegations without a shred of evidence to make them credible. It was not bothered that the reputation of the judiciary had been brought into disrepute by these reckless allegations. All they cared about was political opportunism to exploit this to the utmost.

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Ranjit’s ridiculous position must be condemned in the interest of justice. His absurd and cock-eyed notion of justice has provided fodder for Utusan Malaysia to exploit a reckless and baseless allegation.

P Ramakrishnan
Executive committee member
13 August 2013

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