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V.K. Lingam sentenced to six months’ jail

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 14: The Federal Court today sentenced former lawyer Datuk V. K. Lingam to six months jail after finding him guilty of contempt of court for accusing a federal court judge of plagiarism in a written judgment.

Justice Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin who led a five-man bench delivered the unanimous decision in Lingam’s absence.

The judge also issued a warrant of committal against Lingam, 66, who had been absent throughout the proceedings since 2013.

“We are of the view it is a fit case for a custodial sentence. We sentence the respondent to six months jail with effect from the date of execution of the warrant of committal,” he said.

Abu Samah said Lingam’s case had been postponed several times since leave for contempt was issued against him on April 3, 2013 and the court had also declined his request for an adjournment.

The panel which also comprised Tan Sri Ramly Ali, Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi and Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha earlier noted senior federal counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching’s submission that the Attorney-General had consented to let the court continue with the contempt proceedings in Lingam’s absence.

Loke had submitted that Lingam did not make any attempt to file his defence or tender any apology except to request for the matter to be adjourned indefinitely to say he was unwell and produced a medical certificate.

“We have evidence that he travelled from California to London and this was in June this year. California to London is quite a distance. It is about eleven and half hours,” she said.

The SFC further submitted that Lingam was aware of what had transpired in court on Sept 26, this year as he had subsequently filed a review application yet made no attempt to appear or engage a counsel.

She also said Lingam’s allegation of bias, incompetence and impartiality of the judiciary was very grave, could undermine public confidence in the judiciary and amounted to scandalising the court.

On Sept 26 this year, the Federal Court ordered Lingam to be present in court to answer the contempt charge.

The federal court had earlier noted that a medical report dated May 10, this year stated that Lingam was unfit for long period of travel as he suffered hip fracture and back pain; however it found that the medical report obtained from a hospital in United States was forged.

Earlier today, another Federal Court five-man bench led by Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif struck out Lingam’s review application.

Lingam, former Kian Joo Can Factory Bhd (KJCF) group managing director Datuk See Teow Chuan and 23 others were cited for contempt of court four years ago, for claiming that a Federal Court judge had plagiarised his judgment in a commercial case related to KJCF.

On Aug 23, 2013, Lingam and 24 others failed to set aside their contempt charge when the court ruled that there was a prima facie case against them.

On Aug 7, 2014, the Federal Court allowed the attorney-general to take over the contempt proceedings from the original applicants, Kian Joo Holdings Sdn Bhd (KJH) liquidators Ooi Woon Chee and Ng Kim Tuck who withdrew the charges.

In November last year, the Federal Court imposed a fine totalling RM2.15 million on another lawyer and 12 majority and eight minority shareholders of a company for contempt of court.

Two other minority shareholders of KJFC were fined RM100,000 each for contempt on Sept 26 this year.

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