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“Throw Section 228 of the Penal Code at the blogger – Sankara Nair

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PETALING JAYA  –  The scathing attack against a high court judge has left a senior lawyer seething with indignation and demanding that action be taken against the perpetrator.

Referring to an article published on the Perkasa website yesterday, Sankara Nair told FMT that he was both outraged and appalled by the incredulous and vile statements.

“The writer is incredibly moronic and his allegations are scurrilous, vilifying and wholly unwarranted. The writer has gone on a vicious, baseless, and defamatory personal tirade against the judge and it is prima facie contempt of court.

“The writer is clearly politically motivated and as such incapable and not qualified to give substantial, constructive and reasonable criticism of Justice VT Singham or any judicial officer for that matter,” he added.

Sankara said that if the Attorney-General’s Chambers did not direct the police to lodge a report, he would be more than willing to file a police report on this matter.

The lawyer also urged the chief justice as head of the judiciary to call upon the AG Chambers to act against the individual or individuals of Perkasa who were involved in this matter.

“Judges are always vulnerable and it is most unfortunate that they are unable to defend themselves personally against attacks against them. Thus, it is the public duty of all lawyers and the Bar Council to guard against such attacks on judges and to protect the sanctity and integrity of all judges in performing their judicial duties.

“It is reiterated that it is the legal and bounden duty of the Attorney-General’s Chambers to take a stand and to come out strongly against such atrocious behaviour by this writer and institute contempt proceedings and also order the police to commence investigations by issuing an Order to Investigate (OTI) with a view to prosecute the writer,” he said.

The article penned by Zainuddin Salleh had questioned Singham’s impartiality, his past judgments and also insinuated that he could be a homosexual due to him being a bachelor.

Singham is the presiding judge in the RM50 million defamation suit filed by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim against Utusan Malaysia. He is scheduled to deliver his judgment on Jan 22.

‘Article aims to intimidate him’

Commenting further, Sankara, a former Anwar lawyer, said the judge had yet to deliver his verdict and the contents of the article was clearly premeditated and timed as such with an intention to intimidate him and to interfere with the administration of justice.

“This amounts to a clear commission of a criminal offence under Section 228 of the Penal Code, the objective of which is to preserve the prestige and dignity of the court by punishing any person who intentionally insults in any way the court administering justice,” he added.

Section 228 of the Penal Code reads as follows: 228. Intentional insult or interruption to a public servant sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding.

Whoever intentionally offers any insult or causes any interruption to any public servant, while such public servant is sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to two thousand ringgit or with both.

Vouching for the judge’s integrity, Sankara said that many lawyers, including himself, had won and lost before Singham.

“Also, I and many of my esteemed colleagues have appeared before him and we have walked out of court with a feeling of being given a fair hearing.

“It is common knowledge that he has always maintained impartiality, given decisions without fear or favour and has always acted exemplary,” he added.

Sankara also found it disturbing that the writer had made unwarranted references to the judge’s personal life and his single status.

“It is twisted logic that a man or woman of a certain age who remains single is deemed to be gay and as such can only come from a deranged mind.

“Such personal slurs on any member of the judiciary must not go unpunished,” he stressed.

Yesterday, Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga and MIC central working committee member S Vell Paari had also condemned the article.