Lawyer Simon Siah has insisted that Mukah police had intimidated him when he was representing his clients, who were arrested for allegedly obstructing police in carrying out their duties.
Siah said he had identified himself and gave a name card to the officer recording the statement on Monday.
“I had even informed Insp Firdaus and Insp Afiq who were doing the remand earlier in the morning, that I was the lawyer in charge for all the four detainees. Before one of my clients’ statements was taken, I informed the officer who was taking the statement for permission. I was granted such permission until he went and approached his superior, the supposedly (Mukah CID chief ASP) Peter Yong,” he said yesterday.
Siah said the officers initially did not ask him to leave but had asked him to give a witness statement first before he could accompany his client when he (client) gave his statement.
“I informed Peter Yong as well that I was the lawyer for my client and it was unnecessary for my statement to be taken at all, as I was only there to accompany my client when he gave his statement.”
Siah said he was only asked to leave when he refused to give statement to the police as he was only present to accompany his client when his (client) statement was taken.
“Thereafter when I asked to meet another client who was also there to give statements, I was also not allowed to do so and I was eventually informed that he, together with two others had all been arrested.”
Siah pointed out that under sections 112 and 28A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), there is a requirement that the witness be read his right to representation before answering any question.
“As I had been appointed to represent all four detainees, as a lawyer, I was merely performing my duty to properly advise my client.”
Siah also said there is no requirement under the law for a lawyer to give statement before he could represent the client.
“There is no rule under the CPC that requires a lawyer who accompanies his clients to give statements. The insistence by the said Peter Yong for me to give a statement was itself wrong and tantamount to intimidation against a lawyer. The words used by Peter Yong were ‘if you want to stay here, you have to give your statement first’, to which I verily refused. When I asked for his name and identification, Peter Yong had refused to give and asked me to lodge a report against him and he arrogantly stated that the whole police station knew who he is.”
Siah issued this statement after the police on Monday denied they had intimidated him. State CID chief Datuk Dev Kumar in a statement on Monday said around Monday noon, while the statement of one of the suspects (who is Siah’s client) was being recorded by Mukah police in an interview room under Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), one individual claiming to be a lawyer entered the room unannounced and sat down next to the suspect.
“The officer recording the statement asked this individual to leave the room but he refused. The Mukah CID chief, ASP Peter Yong, was then notified of the presence of this individual in the interview room. ASP Peter Yong also advised this individual to leave the room and again he refused. ASP Peter Yong then indicated to this individual that his statement might be recorded as a witness to the interview of the suspect if he insisted on being present.
“This individual perceived this as a threat and lodged a police report against ASP Peter Yong that same afternoon. A police report was also lodged against that individual by ASP Peter Yong for obstructing the recording of the statement,” Dev Kumar said.
Meanwhile, PKR Women national vice president Voon Shiak Ni said she had high respect for Dev Kumar but felt that in this case, the latter was not being ‘too fair’ in his words against Siah, who has been all these years helping the natives, including accompanying the aggrieved Native Customary Rights (NCR) landowners to the police stations.
“Maybe Dev Kumar should investigate into the matter with other staff first instead of taking it as the truth from (ASP) Peter Yong. Furthermore, the men in blue are tasked with the important duty of seeing justice done and they are expected to act professionally in every sense.
“Therefore, I am of the view that there is an issue that needs to be further investigated here.”
Voon added: “We used to accompany our clients who were in the same scenario to lodge police report at Simpang Tiga One Stop Centre in Kuching and I do give credit to the police personnel there for being friendly and accommodative.”
She went on to say that what happened to Siah and his clients in Mukah on Monday was ‘not commendable’ and ‘unnecessary’.
Source : @ Borneo Post Online