Hornbill Unleashed

June 8, 2017

Govt must file appeal over trio acquitted in Kayong case, say lawyers

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

bill-kayong-2The government must appeal immediately if the acquittal by the High Court of three men charged with abetting in the murder of social activist Bill Kayong is flawed, lawyers said.

They said in public interest, a notice of appeal must be filed tomorrow although prosecutors have 14 days to do so.

Lawyer M Visvanathan said there should not be any delay if the government was sensitive to public opinion.

“The notice of appeal must be lodged so that the judge can proceed to write his grounds for acquittal for the benefit of the appellate court.”

The lawyer said this in response to protests outside the Miri High Court after three men, including a Sarawak businessman with a “Datuk” title, were freed of abetting in the murder of Kayong last June.

The protesters, comprising Dayak rights activists and Kayong’s family and friends, were especially angry and distraught over the release of the businessman, who was said to have masterminded the murder.

Stephen Lee Chee Kiang, Lie Chang Loon and Chin Wui Chung were all discharged and acquitted without having their defence called.

Justice P Ravinthran ruled that the prosecution had failed to furnish evidence linking the trio to the murder.

Mohamad Fitri Pauz, the man accused of pulling the trigger in the mafia-style murder, was ordered to enter his defence.

“The prosecution had failed to establish any evidence linking the trio to the murder. I have to discharge and acquit the three without calling for their defence.

Kayong, 43, whose Muslim name is Mohd Hasbie Abdullah, was gunned down while in his four-wheel drive on June 21 at a traffic light intersection at Lutong, near the E-Mart supermarket, along the Jalan Miri-Bintulu.

The killing of the Miri PKR secretary was believed to be linked to his work as an advocate of social issues, especially on indigenous rights and land issues.

Lee had left Miri for Singapore two days after the murder and was later reported to be on the run in Australia.

Fitri will enter his defence on June 14. He could be sentenced to death if found guilty of murder.

Lawyer SN Nair said the prosecution must appeal as this case had attracted wide public attention.

“Let the Court of Appeal decide whether the trial judge was correct in his ruling.”

He said the prosecution or the defence could also apply to the High Court judge to suspend the proceedings against Fitri pending the outcome of the appeal should the prosecution appeal against the trio’s acquittal.

However, lawyer M Manoharan said Fitri’s trial should proceed as those charged with murder were not allowed to be released on bail.

“It is not fair for the accused to be incarcerated in prison much longer than necessary as he is still innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.”

Source : FMT Online by V Anbalagan


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