AG’s constitutional discretion upheld in Zahid’s corruption charges

IN a recent High Court session, it was noted that the public prosecutor guided by the Federal Constitution and Criminal Procedure Code possesses unrestricted authority to discontinue a criminal case against an accused individual, even after the defence has been presented.

Senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly underscored that there are no explicit restrictions dictating when the attorney-general, who serves as the public prosecutor, can seek the discharge of an accused party.

“(The Federal Constitution and Criminal Procedure Code) do not prescribe when the attorney-general can seek (an accused person’s) discharge, as long as the discharge is made before judgment is delivered,” he said.

This statement came in response to the Malaysian Bar’s pursuit of leave to challenge the attorney-general’s decision to terminate the corruption case against Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Last year, upon the prosecution’s request, the High Court granted Zahid a discharge not amounting to acquittal on 47 charges related to corruption, money laundering and criminal breach of trust.

In the Bar’s recent application to contest the attorney-general’s move, Hanir argued that concrete evidence supporting the challenge was lacking.

Meanwhile, lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan informed the court of the Bar’s intention to file an application within the next two weeks, to refer certain constitutional questions to the Federal Court.

Hanir and lawyer Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik representing Zahid, expressed their intention to object to the reference bid. The case has been scheduled for further management on Feb 6.


Main photo credit: The Edge Markets

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