Breach of Court’s directions may not be sufficient to warrant a contempt

File photo depicting the Kuching Court Complex.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Feb 25: The Malaysian Bar holds that a breach of the Court’s directions may not be sufficient to warrant a contempt.

The stance of the Malaysian Bar was expressed by Clement Wong during the proceeding of senior counsel Shankar Ram’s contempt of court case at the Court of Appeal today.

As Shankar is the member of the Malaysian Bar and Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS), both have requested to hold a watching brief and were allowed by the Court.

Answering the Court of Appeal when asked if there were any comments on the case, Wong expressed the view of the Malaysian Bar.

“I am instructed by Bar to say — In the event there is indeed a Committal Order given by the Learned Judicial Commissioner, then the Malaysian Bar’s position is that contempt is to be used sparingly and the Malaysian Bar is of the view that if the committal order was made solely due to defiance of direction of court, that by itself may not be sufficient to warrant contempt. This is the instruction given by the Malaysian Bar,” said Wong.

After listening to both defendant and plaintiff arguments, Court of Appeal Judges Datuk Lau Bee Lan, Datuk Ravinthran N. Paramaguru and Dato Indera Mohd Sofian Tan Sri Abdul Razak today had agreed to grant stay of execution on High Court Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew How Wai’s orders, pending disposal of the appeals.

The three-membered panel judges will deliver their decision on April 9, 2021.

Earlier on Jan 12, Siew dismissed the defamation case of Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian against Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen with RM30,000 costs.

Siew also found Shankar to be in contempt of court for being one month late in submitting the bundle of documents which he deemed as an obstruction of justice as well as a compromise of the integrity of the trial.

Shankar is Dr Sim’s legal Counsel over the alleged defamatory posts made by Chong on the Sarawak Government food aid allocation during the Movement Control Order (MCO) over Covid-19 pandemic on April 21 last year.

Chong was represented by Michael Kong and Chong Siew Chiang, while Shankar was represented by Dato Bong Ah Loi and Wong King Wei. — DayakDaily