Senior judge told to appear before Ethics Committee on Feb 4

 

PUTRAJAYA: The Judges’ Ethics Committee has asked Court of Appeal Judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer to appear before them on Feb 4.

This comes days after the High Court in Kuala Lumpur dismissed the senior judge’s judicial review leave application to stop the committee from holding a closed-door hearing in relation to an affidavit and a judgment.

On Jan 21, Judge Mariana Yahya also allowed the committee’s application to strike out Hamid’s originating summons, which is closely tied to the remedy sought in the judicial review application.

Hamid’s lawyer, Wilson Joy Appukuttan, confirmed with FMT that he received a letter on Tuesday asking his client to appear before them at 3pm on Feb 4.

Wilson said he had filed a notice of appeal on both matters – leave for judicial review and the originating summons – last week.

“Today (Wednesday), we also filed for a stay of the proceeding before the committee until the Court of Appeal hears and disposes of the leave application for judicial review,” he said.

He said the stay application would be heard before Mariana on Feb 2.

Mariana had earlier granted Hamid, who had been scheduled to appear before the committee on Nov 25, two interim stays.

In the judicial review matter, Hamid wants a declaration that the in-camera proceeding is against the rules of natural justice, irrational and unconstitutional.

He also wants a declaration that the committee, chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, has acted unconstitutionally in framing charges against him and that the charges should be declared null and void.

As for the originating summons, Hamid is seeking a direction in relation to the affidavit and judgment he delivered in a criminal appeal case.

Hamid, who is scheduled to retire this year, posed a question on whether the judgment he delivered last June could be subjected to an investigation by the committee.

He also asked whether the affidavit he affirmed in 2019 in support of a suit filed by lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo could be subject to scrutiny by the committee.

The committee then filed an application to strike out the suit.

Three years ago, Hamid alleged there had been judicial interference in several high-profile cases. Sangeet then filed a suit against the chief justice early in 2019, accusing the top judge of failing to defend and preserve the integrity of the judiciary.

In August, FMT reported that the committee had issued Hamid a show cause notice over the affidavit and the judgment.

Hamid, among other things, had said in the judgment that the judiciary was expected to act as a check and balance on the executive and legislature, as provided for under the Federal Constitution.

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