The High Court here today set aside the leave obtained by Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas to initiate committal proceedings against lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah over his media statement in relation to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s case.
This followed judge Datuk Mohd Firuz Jaffril’s decision of allowing Muhammad Shafee’s application to set aside the leave obtained by the AG.
Mohd Firuz, in his judgment, said the originating summons (OS) filed by AG was lacking in particulars on the contempt charge against Muhammad Shafee.
“The person who is charged with contempt must know exactly what he is charged for. The OS must set out fairly and adequately describe the alleged contemptuous words uttered by Muhammad Shafee,” he said.
The judge also found that the impugned words were not deliberately uttered by Muhammad Shafee but were a reply to a question raised by a journalist.
The court also ordered the AG to pay RM30,000 in costs to Muhammad Shafee who was named as a defendant in the originating summons.
On March 1, the High Court allowed Thomas’s application for leave to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Muhammad Shafee.
In the motion filed in February this year, Thomas said Muhammad Shafee was an advocate and solicitor representing Najib who had been charged with several offences related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
He said that on February 7, 2019, after the court proceedings involving Najib in the High Court, the defendant was interviewed by several journalists outside the courtroom, and the interview was recorded by a videographer from Kinitv.com and telecast on KiniTV.
Thomas claimed that the defendant knew or ought to have known that the offensive statement was contemptuous to the judge and would undermine the administration of justice and public confidence in the judicial system in Malaysia.
He said that considering the words in its entirety would reasonably be perceived by the public that if the accused was convicted, the trial judge was not straight but was influenced, the witnesses were coached and the evidence fabricated.
Meanwhile, senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan told reporters that he would seek instruction from the AG of whether to appeal against the decision.