Affidavits in the Media

September 8, 1998

The Bar Council is very concerned about the recent events which have enveloped the nation particularly in respect of the publication in the media of the four affidavits filed by the prosecution when opposing Datuk S. Nallakaruppan’s application to be remanded at the Sg. Buloh prison instead of at the Bukit Aman police lock-up. The Counsel for Datuk S. Nallakaruppan had applied to the Court inter alia to expunge paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 of the affidavit affirmed by SAC II Musa Hassan. However even before full arguments were heard and a decision made by the Learned Judge on the application, the said affidavits were published in extenso in the media. The Bar Council views with dismay the lack of responsibility on the part of the media to publish the affidavits in their entirety which is most unusual and unprecedented.

The Bar Council is of the view that the publication of the affidavits which are not public documents within the Evidence Act may have been sub judice and even in contempt of court given the fact that the Learned Judge had not arrived at a decision at the time of publication.

The Bar Council is further of the view that the publication of the affidavit which contained serious allegations against a third party, who was not a party to the proceedings and was not in a position to be heard was a breach of the rule of natural justice and fair play.

The Bar Council hopes that by this publication a precedent will not be created where one is tried by the media. Such instances ought to be stopped as it infringes the constitutional right of a person to defend himself.

The Bar Council reiterates its stand that the Internal Security Act ought to be repealed and that Datuk S. Nallakaruppan should not have been charged under the Internal Security Act.

Dated 8th September, 1998.

Mah Weng Kwai, Secretary Bar Council Malaysia

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