Hamid Sultan fails to challenge Judges’ Ethics Committee’s decision to hold closed-door inquiry
Court of Appeal judge Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer attends the International Malaysia Law Conference in Kuala Lumpur August 16, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer today failed in his application to challenge the Judges’ Ethics Committee’s (JEC) decision to hold a closed-door inquiry against him.

This is following a decision by High Court Judge Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya to allow the objection by the Attorney-General’s Chambers against Hamid Sultan’s application for leave for judicial review.

Senior Federal Counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambali, when contacted, said the court allowed the AGC’s objection after finding that Hamid Sultan’s application was premature as the committee had yet to make a decision on the complaint against Hamid Sultan.

“Therefore, the court rejects the applicant’s application for leave for judicial review with no order as to costs,” he said.

Today’s proceeding was conducted virtually with the participation of lawyers Datuk Bastian Vendargon and Datuk Joy Wilson Appukuttan representing Hamid Sultan.

Hamid Sultan filed the application for leave for judicial review in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on October 20, naming the chairman of the JEC and the JEC as the first and second respondents respectively.

He is seeking a certiorari order to quash the decision of the respondents stated in the first respondent’s letter dated September 28 and September 29, as well to declare the decision as invalid and void, in violation of Articles 5 and 8 of the Federal Constitution.

Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat is currently the JEC chairman.

Hamid Sultan, through his affidavit of support, said the application was filed based on the decision of the first respondent to investigate two complaints that had been raised against him by other judges involving his judgment as the Court of Appeal Judge in the Public Prosecutor’s case against Aluma Mark Chinonso & Anor, and the affidavit he affirmed in support of an originating summons filed by lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, who sought several declarations with respect to court decisions made in her late father Karpal Singh’s appeals.

According to Hamid Sultan, investigations into misconduct involving judges could not be done in closed-door as it contradicted the principle of judicial independence.

Meanwhile, Appukuttan, when contacted, said the same judge also allowed the application by JEC and its chairman to quash the originating summons by Hamid Sultan.

The lawyer, however, said the suit against lawyers Sangeet Kaur Deo and Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla as the third and fourth defendants would be continued, with the case management set for February 22.

On October 9 last year, Hamid Sultan had filed a suit against the four defendants over allegations that the JEC could investigate the judgment he delivered and the affidavit he affirmed involving the same issues.

Appukuttan also said that he had received instructions from his client to file an appeal against today’s decisions. — Bernama