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Monday, August 30, 2010

Appeals Court allows Tian to challenge 'biting' conviction


Malaysia Chronicle

The Appeals Court has allowed Batu MP Tian Chua to appeal a lower court ruling that found him guilty of biting a police officer.

“We will file the notice of appeal within 14 days. We hope the appeal can be heard before the end of the year,” Tian toldMalaysia Chronicle.

A three-member Appeals panel heard his application and unanimously ruled that High Court Judge Ghazali Cha had erred because he did not consider all the evidence or view the DVD documenting the fracas that led to the charges.

"The DVD is pertinent in this issue. It would have been right for the High Court judge to view the DVD and wrong to not view it," said Judge Suriyadi Halim Omar.

Challenging conviction, not sentence

Tian was found guilty in October last year by the magistrate's court for biting a policeman during a political rally outside of Parliament in 2007. He was sentenced to six months jail and slapped with a RM3,000 fine.

He then appealed at the High Court, which upheld his conviction but reduced the fine to RM2,000 in June 2010. The High Court judge also said in his written judgment that the reduction of the fine was to enable Tian to carry on as a member of Parliament and to avoid the costs of a by-election.

Under current laws, a fine of not less than RM2,000 or more than a year’s jail would subject a lawmaker to disqualification of his parliamentary seat, requiring a by-election to be called. There was initially confusion as to whether Tian would be disqualified despite the reduced fine but the written grounds stated clearly Judge Ghazali's intention.

In the latest round, Tian is not appealing against the sentence but against the guilty verdict. He is appealing the conviction based on 12 questions of law.

The PKR lawmaker is also challenging the High Court’s decision that a person cannot resist an illegal arrest and can only seek legal redress in the event of an illegal arrest. Tian will aslo contest the fact that the prosecution failed to call the officer who ordered his arrest as a witness.

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