Monday, November 17, 2014

Judge sees red with Taib's son's absence

11:00AM Nov 17, 2014
By Hafiz Yatim
Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab today ticked off Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib and his lawyer Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar for their non-attendance.

The session this morning was fixed for cross-examination of the Sarawak governor's son.

Today's proceedings was attended by Mahmud's ex wife Shahnaz A. Majid, her lawyer and Mahmud's lawyer Saadiah Din.

Karim said the postponement application was only sent by Zainul Rijal (left) via a letter at the eleventh hour with a copy sent to him and a call made to his boss.

He remarked that lawyers might as well send the letter to the chief judge directly (if calls are made).

"I do not like postponements to be made via a letter, as this has to be done in open court. This is not my style (granting postponement via letter)."

The judge said he is number three in the Syariah High Court, and informing his superior was not necessary.

"I want this case be done in transparency as I know that as soon as this case is over in the day, it is reported worldwide. I had prioritised in hearing the case today and left out other cases," he said.

Saadiah informed the court that lead counsel Zainul Rijal is in Jordan to attend a function with graduates from the middle east and her client was also overseas, as he was informed that the court had granted a postponement.

Lawyers informed to come to court

The hearing dates were fixed in September this year and this led to Judge Karim to probe further from Saadiah whether the Jordan dates were decided before the trial dates was fixed in September or after.

“The reason is if this is after the court dates are fixed, it is improper for this to be done and if the Jordan matter is before the court dates are fixed, then you should inform the court earlier,” he said.

The `mutaah' RM 100 million gift claim following divorce case against Mahmud before Judge Karim, is a re-trial after the Syariah Court of Appeal  ordered it be heard again before a different judge other than judge Mohamad Abdullah, following an application by the Mahmud's lawyers.

As a result of this, the case which was filed in 2012 was ordered for it to be heard from the beginning before Judge Karim.

Malaysiakini got sight of the letter (left) sent by Zainul Rijal dated Oct 3 seeking for a postponement and Judge Karim made a note on the right side of the letter dated Oct 24, to inform both parties that the case will go on and asked Zainul Rijal to send a replacement.

Seeking RM15,000 costs

Rafie Mohd Shafie, who is acting for Shahnaz, told the court he was under the impression that the case will go on following what the judge had wrote.

He asked for RM15,000 in cost for the postponement.

Rafie said Shahnaz (right) had come back from London to attend this case, but the defendant is not present.

Akbardin added that the costs should be awarded as a deterrent to Mahmud to respect the court's credibility.

“As lawyers we have asked him many things (including for Mahmud to give a copy of his assets) but he chose to ignore it despite directives had been given."

This led to Judge Karim wanting Mahmud to give reasons for his absence.

“At the last session, even lawyer (Zainul Rijal) informed that he is meeting with the Brunei Sultan and asked for a postponement which the court allows.

“I want parties to respect the court. Come and see me and wait. Do not send a letter only.

“Do not take it for granted, and do not influence the person above me to tie my hands. I am not a person like that,” he said.

Judge Karim claimed that people at a meeting had asked him if he would award the RM100 million and such a decision involves the court's integrity.

He said he will make a decision on the RM15,000 cost application at the next proceeding.

The case will continue on Dec 1 and in January next year.

Later, Shahnaz told reporters that she was upset by her former husband's non-presence.

“I came back last week to attend the proceedings today and he was not present,” he said.
~ Malaysiakini

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