Court of Appeal approves AAS to watch brief in Shankar’s contempt of court case

Shankar Ram Asnani

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Feb 15:  The Court of Appeal has approved Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) to hold a watching brief during the hearing of senior legal counsel Shankar Ram Asnani’s contempt of court case.

The decision was made in response to the applications of both AAS and the Bar Council Malaysia.

The hearing of appeal has been fixed on Feb 24, 2021, at 9am by way of Zoom.

In the case Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian vs Chong Chieng Jen defamation case, the High Court on Jan 12, 2021 dismissed the case with RM30,000 costs and found Shankar to be in contempt because of a one-month delay in filing “bundle of documents.

Shankar represented Dr Sim and Michael Kong for Chong.

As Shankar is a member of AAS, the association had applied to hold a watching brief during the hearing when Shankar’s case is in session.

However, during the case management proceeding on Feb 3, 2021, the High Court disallowed the application of AAS which has appointed Sarbjit Singh Khaira, Liew Tang Chieh, Dayangku Sa’adiah Awang Hipni to hold the watching brief.

In its submission which was disallowed by the High Court, AAS stated it is a stakeholder representing the interests of advocates in Sarawak.  It was submitted that AAS has the duty to be concerned with the conduct of its member, that is, Shankar who was found to have committed prima facie contempt in the face of the Court.

AAS asserted that it will be in a more informed position to advise its members on the outcome of this matter if the Court were to allow AAS’s application to hold a watching brief on behalf of all AAS members.

“AAS will not express any views and/or comments and/or take any stance while holding the watching brief at the hearing of the said contempt proceedings,” said AAS in its submission.

Following the judgment on Jan 12, 2021 Shankar has filed appeals to the Court of Appeal. The case will be heard on an urgent basis on Feb 24, 2021 as Dr Sim v Chong case was dismissed without hearing merits and Shankar was cited for contempt without prior notice of such proceedings. — DayakDaily