Lawyers: Good behaviour bond on whistleblower Rafizi right decision
Court is right not to interfere in the measure of punishment when the deputy public prosecutor went along with counsel for Rafizi who proposed the good behaviour bond, says lawyer N Sivananthan.VIDEO INSIDE
Rafizi had pleaded guilty to leaking the 1MDB audit report.
PETALING JAYA: The Court of Appeal was right in imposing a good behaviour bond after PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli pleaded guilty to leaking the 1MDB audit report, a lawyer said.
N Sivananthan said the deputy public prosecutor Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud agreed on the non-custodial sentence when Rafiziâs lawyer Ahmad Nizam Hamid proposed the punishment to the court.
âAfter all, it was the prosecution which charged Rafizi and the court was right not to interfere when the deputy pu blic prosecutor had no objection on the binding over suggestion,â he said.
He said this after a three-man bench chaired by Ahmadi Asnawi handed a two-year good behaviour bond to Rafizi, who was also ordered to post RM2,000 bail in one surety.
Sivananthan said todayâs decision was appropriate as Rafizi and the prosecution seemed to have agreed that the 18-month jail term imposed by the Sessions Court was excessive.
Lawyer Baljit Sidhu said this was a fit and proper case to order a non-custodial sentence.
âRafizi today withdrew his appeal against conviction and the court was perfectly right to give Rafizi the binding over,â he said.
Baljit said during this period Rafizi must conduct himself well or else he would have to serve jail. If, for instance, he were to be found guilty of a crime, he would have to serve both that sentence and the 18 months on this sentence.
Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Awang Armadajaya told the cou rt that he had been instructed to withdraw the appeal against Rafiziâs acquittal for being in possession of page 98 of the audit report which had been classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Nizam then informed the court that his client was withdrawing his appeal against conviction for revealing the Auditor-Generalâs 1MDB report in a press conference at the Parliament lobby on March 28, 2016.
The lawyer said Rafizi did it for the good of the nation and not out of self-interest. Nizam said the revelation was no threat to national security.
Awang Armadajaya responded by stating it was no longer an offence under the present circumstances.
Both offences, punishable under the OSA, carry a mandatory jail term of a minimum one year but not exceeding seven years.
Lawyer M Visvanathan, however, said todayâs decision was a bad precedent as the law was very clear that an offender must serve a jail term on conviction.
He said the proceedi ng gave the impression that some negotiations had taken place to give Rafizi the binding over.
âRafizi should have appealed against the conviction to get an acquittal and the deputy public prosecutor could have offered not to make any submission but let the court decide,â he said.
Source: Google News
Rafizi given 2-year good behaviour bond for leaking 1MDB report