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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Justice Not Only Blind but also Lame and Brainless in Malaysia

There is a saying that "Justice in Blind" to mean that the judge administers justice without fear or favour so that everyone gets a fair trial.

However in Malaysia we appear to be stretching things too far when the prosecution team for a prominent case is switched on the day before the trial starts on the feeble excuse that it was to ensure "a fair trial".

I'm no legal eagle but that phrase kind of causes alarm bells to start ringing. Does that mean the previous team could not ensure a vigorous exercise in the pursuit of justice?

Now the trial has to be postponed for another two weeks and the court schedules have to be redrawn.

To divert attention from the feverish atmosphere in KL, now another case has to be postponed - this time in Butterworth when the accused were not produced in court as someone forgot to check where they were being held.

It would be quite hilarious for a courtroom comedy skit but here we are dealing with delays in justice caused by sheer incompetence.

Don't prosecution teams have even a basic checklist to ensure that such cock-ups do not occur(pardon my language)like:

Name of prisoner:
Prison held:
Date of trial:
Medical reports:

I thought the latest salary increase would motivate civil servants to perform basic tasks rather well as most of it require only a few grey cells but I am wrong on that count.

The other issue was that the request to postpone the trial was based on the post-mortem that had not been received. Is that not a feeble excuse?

Perhaps we need to have a cost structure for delays of this kind. They say "Time=Money" but most civil servants have the attitude you need to stretch your work so your job is more secured.

I suggest the Courts should adopt some cost penalties like the following:
Postponements: RM5000 per day on the party asking for the postponement and that includes the judge, the defence or the prosecution.

This step will bring more order to Malaysian courts and speed up cases. Of course the government will only collect fines for itself but the fine will be a measure of the efficiency of the offices.

Graphics: Thanks to http://www.ramdac.org/images/ju$tice_large.jpg

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