KUALA LUMPUR – March 20, 2017: Legal practitioners are of the view that the Penang high court was being fair when it postponed the corruption trial of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng because it is normal for a court to allow a defendant to seek as much legal recourse as possible.
According to a TV3 report, the case has been postponed to July 21 because the court wanted to wait for the court of appeals’ ruling on Lim’s challenge that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act, under which he was charged, is unconstitutional.
“I do not think he (Lim) is trying to delay his case because arguing the supposed unconstitutionality of the MACC Act can also be construed as his defence against the charges,” said lawyer Zaki Azmi.
“The way I see it Lim is trying to file as many interlocutory applications as he could and the court must deal with these applications first before it can proceed with the parent (main) case.”
On the argument by Lim’s critics that justice delayed is justice denied, Zaki remarked that justice hurried is justice denied as well.
Lim was charged for allowing an application to rezone a piece of land and for buying a property below the market price last year.
His detractors argue that Lim was being absurd when he claimed that the act was unconstitutional because it was the same law that put former Selangor mentri besar Dr Khir Toyo in jail for a similar offence.
Another lawyer, Ahmad Shahrul Safwan, agree that it is normal for court cases to be time consuming.
“It takes time because lawyers have to ensure that their client’s defence is thoroughly drafted so that it encapsulates every possible angle of defence.
“Just look at how long Anwar’s case dragged on,” he said in reference to the sodomy case of former opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
However, anonymous political commentator Lim Sian See argued that Lim’s dilly dally seems to suggest that the latter is trying not to disclose certain things from certain people.
“Why does Guan Eng keep on delaying his trial with all sorts of challenges when he said he is looking forward to disclosing evidence which will prove him not guilty?
“Unless there are certain things that certain people do not want to see disclosed in court by the prosecutor,” Sian See wrote at Facebook today.