ISA CREEPING INTO OUR COURTS?
1) "Awak bagitau hakim mahkamah satu lagi yang saya nak jalan kes saya walaupun kes dia lagi lama, saya lagi senior dari hakim itu"
2) "Saya tak kira kalau peguam ada High Court ke Court of Appeal ke, kes saya saya nak jalan jugak"
3) "Saya tahu hari ni sebutan tapi saya free minggu depan dan saya nak bicara jalan minggu depan, kalau nak ikut jadual peguam tahun depan pun tak free"
4) "Saya tahu sekarang dah 5.30 petang tapi kalau sambung sampai night court pun saya tak kisah, apa masalahnya peguam teruskan"
5) "Saya dapat arahan dari orang atas untuk benarkan penangguhan sambung bicara selama 2 minggu sahaja, kenapa peguam ambil terlalu banyak kes?"
Familiar with all these remarks made by the bench lately? I'm sure some of you whether its from the prosecution or the defence that have encountered with those kinds of remarks. And surely when your polite request or explanation was thrown into the dustbin by the bench, you felt that they are using the ISA (Ikut Suka Aku).
To be fair and truly, these type of judges or magistrates represents only the few minority. Most of the people on the bench are reasonable, fair and more than willing enough to accept reasonable explanation from parties involved. But hey I'm not talking about the good ones here, (leave Puji-Pujian to Raihan Nasyeed group), after all there are also many loyar buruks and unreasonable dpps out there.
To begin with, I still can't understand why on earth that these few judges are too obsessed with statisics, KPI, and "observation" from those above them. I even had an experience where the judge ask the lawyer to ask for an adjournment although the court itself is not free, so that the record won't show that it's the court who is responsible for the delay. For the court or prosecution to record an adjournment from themselves are regarded as a major sin now.
I believe the bench must strike a balance between 2 extremes; to comply and follow the ultra-strict directions from superiors and the exercise of their own discretion fairly towards all parties. A fair judge who are willing to listen, try to weigh the reasoning given by parties as well as being tough against irresponsable lawyers; will definitley gain respect from all quarters in no time.
These kind of obsession towards preserving or potraying a clean record for statistical purposes only, will definitley lead to unreasonableness and later injustice towards parties involved. Pressing for cases to be disposed a.s.a.p is a good step forward provided parties are given reasonable time to prepare and conduct the trial.
I share the stress faced by dpps attached to these courts lately. They have to conduct cases non-stop and aren't given too much room and space even to breath. Similarly for the defence, directing cases to go on hurriedly might prejudiced the client as the lawyer might not be available. Same judges nowadays even insist on cases to proceed even when the counsel in unavailable with valid reason and has sent letter asking for adjournment.
I still believe that there are many good judges who sit on the bench always with an open mind and try their level best to perform as a judge. I also believe that to be a judge is not an easy task. Having said that, my worry is the ISA prone judges are also on the rise. After all, we are mentimuns and they are durians. Please, have some heart, be fair to others. There may come some time where the bench itself is not free, unavailable or even fell sick. Must we (the defence and dpps) then return the favour then by pressing for the case to proceed without fail? Respect is earned and not demanded. Wassalam.