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Malaysian Bar to pay damages as Shafee wins defamation suit | The Malaysian Insight

Malaysian Bar to pay damages as Shafee wins defamation suit

20/10/2021 8:26:00 AM

Malaysia n Bar to pay damages as Shafee wins defamation suit

Federal Court allows lawyer's appeal in lawsuit against Bar, two others relating to his conduct as DPP in Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy case.

Copy URLThe Federal Court today found lawyers Tommy Thomas and VC George liable for attempts to discuss Muhammad Shafee Abdullah's conduct as DPP in Anwar's sodomy case at the Bar’s annual general meeting in 2015. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 20, 2021.

THE Federal Court today allowed prominent lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s appeal over the dismissal of his lawsuit against the Malaysian Bar and two others relating to his conduct as the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) in Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II case.

 The three-member bench led by judge Abdul Rahman Sebli found lawyers Tommy Thomas and VC George liable for attempts to discuss Shafee’s conduct as DPP in Anwar’s sodomy case at the Bar’s annual general meeting in 2015. Rahman ruled that Shafee was entitled to claim for defamation and that only the Bar has to pay damages since it is a statutory body under the Legal Professional Act.

 “We are not making similar orders against Thomas and George as they are not statutory body,” the judge was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today. Thomas and George had submitted a resolution to discuss Shafee’s misconduct at the annual general meeting (AGM) and to ask the incoming committee to refer the matter to the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board.

 The other members of the bench – Rohana Yusuf and Vernon Ong – reverted the matter to the High Court for assessment of damages. Rahman added that the Bar had no authority to discuss the conduct of lawyers at an AGM as that matter came under the purview of the board.

 “Every complaint against lawyers must be referred to the board and it must not go through the Bar AGM,” he said. Rahman explained that initially, disciplinary matters were with the Bar but from April 1, 1982, it came under the jurisdiction of the board.

 Thomas and George, as senior lawyers, should know that any allegation of misconduct against another fellow counsel should be referred to the board, he said. “Actually, they wanted him condemned at the AGM before the matter was referred to the board,” Rahman added.

 He said the Bar breached the law when it publicised on its website the motion from the two lawyers. “It is unfair and prejudging his guilt as the matter is now before the board,” he added. Rahman said Section 99 of the Act (Legal Profession Act) is very clear that any complaint against a lawyer or pupil must first be referred to the board.

 On May 26, 2016, the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed Shafee’s suit and the Court of Appeal upheld the decision.Shafee claimed that on February 28, 2015, Thomas had published and submitted a motion for discussion at the AGM on March 14, 2015. The motion was seconded by George.

 It was about Shafee’s conduct as DPP in Anwar’s sodomy appeal in the Federal Court, claiming that he (Shafee) had violated the legal profession’s rules which prohibited lawyers from publicising themselves. The motion also alleged Shafee had participated in nationwide roadshows with the purpose of insulting a convicted prisoner and for bringing attention to his role in Anwar’s conviction. – October 20, 2021.

  Read more: TheMalaysianInsight »

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