CJ: Judges being wrongly maligned for prosecution’s decision to drop charges

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 15 — Chief Justice (CJ) Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat today said the judiciary has been unfairly vilified for the decisions of the other parts of the country’s justice system.

In particular, the country’s first woman CJ said these included the Public Prosecutor’s (PP) recent decisions to withdraw criminal charges against certain high-profile individuals.

Tengku Maimun said judges were being blamed for issuing orders that were inevitable in such cases, leading to undeserved criticism of the judiciary that also eroded public faith in the institution, she said.

“And yet, when a charge is withdrawn, the judge making the only available consequential order is painted as corrupt, sometimes as incompetent, or sometimes both.

“What the public fails to understand is that the person responsible for that decision is the PP and not the courts,” she said in her speech at the Opening of the Legal Year 2024 here.

Tengku Maimun said the courts only have one of two very limited consequential options whenever the attorney general, who is the country’s PP, discontinues any proceedings for an offence using his prerogative under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution.

“Depending on the facts, these two options are either granting an order of discharge not amounting to an acquittal popularly called ‘DNAA’ or a discharge amounting to an acquittal which can be called a ‘DAA’.

“The courts cannot turn around and insist to the PP that a charge remain.

“Each of them, the judiciary and the PP have their own constitutionally-demarcated constitutional functions and both must be adjudged fairly for the exercise of their powers to the exclusion of the other,” she said.

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