No-go for lawyer's bid to intervene in dismissal of affidavit parts claiming judicial interference in Karpal's sedition case

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This article has been updated for clarity.

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 11): Lawyer Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdulla is not allowed by the High Court to intervene in the Attorney General's Chambers' move to expunge portions of an incendiary affidavit by a senior judge alleging judicial interference in the late Karpal Singh's sedition conviction.

The affidavit by Court of Appeal judge Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer contains several claims that support lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo's application against the chief justice (CJ) to declare that the latter failed to defend the judiciary after the judge revealed alleged interference in her late father Karpal's sedition case last year.

The affidavit also forms the basis for the government's decision to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the interference allegations.

Justice Datuk Mohd Firuz Jaffril in his decision said the lawyer had not shown how he would be affected by this case.

Hence, the court ruled that he has not shown the locus standii (legal standing) to be a party in the suit.

Furthermore, Firuz said when the case came up and legal representatives of Hamid Sultan came to court, they did not indicate then that they wanted to intervene in the matter.

"For the above reasons, the court dismisses the application," said the judge.

Hamid was represented by lawyers Datuk Joy Appukuttan and Haniff.

Following this, Firuz fixed Oct 2 to hear Sangeet's suit.

Sangeet informed of today's decision.

Haniff wanted to intervene as his client had affirmed an incendiary affidavit in Sangeet's suit alleging misconduct of top judges and judicial interference into the deceased statesman's sedition case and would also like to see the judiciary investigated for these claims.

His affidavit states that initially, the judges at the Court of Appeal wanted to acquit the late Karpal of sedition but were influenced by senior judges to convict the former DAP chairman and reduced his sentence to a fine via a majority decision.

The Court of Appeal judge had additionally claimed that he was reprimanded by a senior judge for dissenting in the M Indira Gandhi conversion case.

Subsequently, his dissenting judgment at the Court of Appeal was accepted as the unanimous decision in the Federal Court, when the apex court quashed Indira Gandhi's children's conversion to Islam.

Sangeet filed the suit during the tenure of previous CJ Tan Sri Richard Malanjum over the allegations of senior judges then had tried to influence the case, leading to her father's conviction being upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The new CJ, who was appointed this year, is Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.

She was also the sole judge in the Court of Appeal bench who dissented in the decision to convict Karpal for sedition.

Naturally, the Federal Court had earlier this year acquitted the late Karpal of all sedition charges.

Karpal died in an accident on April 17, 2014, a month after the High Court had convicted him and fined him RM4,000 for sedition.

See also: Karpal’s daughter asks new CJ to probe interference claims afresh