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Monday, February 23, 2009

RPK’s habeas corpus : Reporting live from Putrajaya on 23/2/2009

11.18am : Still at the Bar Room.

Malik Imtiaz has just been informed by the Registrar of the Federal court that the three judges have indicated that they will be reserving their judgment, to be delivered on another date to be fixed later. They have said that they will write up their judgments.

That means no decision today on the motions to review the dismissal of RPK’s 4 motions last week, including the dismissal of the motion to recuse Augustine Paul.

Have also been informed that the hearing of the appeal proper in court room 2 will also not proceed.

RPK will continue to remain free.

10.57am : Reporting from the Bar Room on the ground floor.

At 10.45am, the three judges retired to the ante room to consider submissions. We were told that the court would resume in about half an hour.

Earlier, at about 10.30am, Tun Majid commenced his submissions to oppose the review applications. He relied heavily on an earlier decision of the Court of Appeal, the case of Wan Khairani, in which Richard Malanjum, Tengku Baharuddin and Augustine Paul had sat. That case, too , involved the question as to whether two judges could have sat to hear an application for injunctive relief. Richard and Tengku, who formed the majority in that case, answered in the affirmative. Augustine dissented.

Malik, in his reply, distinguished Wan Khairani with the present case. There, he pointed out, the relevant statutory provision would have allowed one judge to sit and hear the application in question. Two judges sitting therefore, would not have impacted on the constitutionality of the proceedings. However, that was not the case here.

10.26am : Imtiaz still submitting on the matter of whether the two judges could have heard and disposed of the recusal application last week.

10.21am : Powerpoints at the bar table are all not functioning. Battery running low. May have to continue later as delayed reporting. Sorry.

10.12am : Malik submits that the dismissal of the recusal application last week was flawed owing to what Malik refers to as ‘corum failure’, when two judges unconstitutionally heard and dismissed the recusal application. Having dismissed the recusal application a dn then inviting Augustine to resume his seat on the corum, the court then was contaminated with the apparent bias of Augustine, which contamination then infected the dismissal of the remaining three motions filed by RPK and which were heard and dismissed last week.

10.00am : Court in session.

Malik informs the court that the decision to dismiss the recusal application last week is the critical review application fixed for hearing this morning. The contention however, is that as Augustine Paul had sat to dismiss all the other three motions last week, those decisions, too, are tainted by the participation of Augustine Paul and are therefore also the subject cof review applications this morning.

Tun Majid, for the Home Minister, presents his preliminary objection, which, in substance, is that these review applications are an abuse of process, bordering on contempt, as it amounts to an attempt to ‘judge-shop’.

The court does not seem to be with Tun Majid and Malik is invited to begin hus submissions.

9.35am : Gallery in court 1 is filled to the brim. Outside, RPK supporters wait for a chance to get in. Inside, we all wait.

9.20am : The legal team is assembled in Federal Court 1 where the motions for orders to review the four motions filed by RPK and heard and dismissed last week, are due to be heard.

Of particular interest is the motion to review the decision last week to dismiss the motion to recuse Augustine Paul.

The corum hearing this morning’s review motions : Richard Malanjum, Ariffin Zakaria and Hashim Yusoff Alauddin Sheriff.

Meanwhile, the corum to hear the appeal proper waits in Federal Court 2. Whether the main appeal will proceed today depends on what happens here in court 1.

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