Info from wiretapping, intercepted communications admissable in court under certain conditions — Kho

Desmond Kho (file photo).

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KUCHING, Jan 9: Information obtained by wiretapping or interception, legally or otherwise, may be admissible as evidence in a court of law but subjected to certain conditions.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak information chief and lawyer Desmond Kho explained that Section 116(C) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act 593) provides for the interception of communication and admissibility of intercepted communications.

“Section 116C provides that information obtained by wiretapping or interception may be admissible with certain provisos,” he asserted in a press statement today.

Kho was commenting about the nine audio clips released to the public domain by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday (Jan 8).

The telephone conversation recordings allegedly involve high-profile figures including former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and alleges a conspiracy to manipulate information related to 1MDB’s dealings.

After the recordings were played to members of the media, MACC chief Latheefa Koya was reported as saying that it indicated serious power abuse, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice and compromised national security.

Kho pointed out that there was no exemption for any particular class of persons including top leaders contained in Section 116C.

As for illegally obtained evidence, he highlighted that the leading authority would be the Privy Council case of ‘Kuruma vs The Queen [1995] AC 197′ in which the Law Lords held that “In their lordships’ opinion the test to be applied in considering whether evidence is admissible is whether it is relevant to the matters in issue.”

“If it is, it is admissible and the court is not concerned with how the evidence was obtained.”

However, Kho stressed that it was premature at this stage to come to any conclusion as the source of information has not been disclosed by MACC.

As for any claims of invasion of privacy, he said further to the legal precedents as stated above, there is also a need for a common sense approach.

“An obviously criminal offence cannot be allowed to hide under the excuse that the acts complained (about) is private.

“If that was the case, imagine the unnecessary strain it would put into the administration of justice,” he added. — DayakDaily