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Harassment or intimidation of witnesses may amount to contempt of court — Malaysian Bar
NOVEMBER 10 — Numerous persons have been named, and several serious allegations made, in the suit filed by Member of Parliament Abdul Hadi Awang against Clare Rewcastle Brown (“Rewcastle Brown”). As the matter is filed in the United Kingdom (“UK”) courts, it can only be determined in that jurisdiction. Any person aggrieved by the contents of Rewcastle Brown’s pleadings may apply in the UK courts to intervene in the proceedings.
All persons named in the suit, including Ambiga Sreenevasan (“Ambiga”), are potential witnesses when the matter comes up for trial.
In respect of what Ambiga had allegedly informed Rewcastle Brown, the UK courts will first need to establish whether she did indeed inform Rewcastle Brown, as alleged. If the UK courts rule that she did, it will then proceed to ascertain the veracity of the information provided. If the truthfulness is proven, the UK courts will then determine how much weight should be attached to the information.
If it cannot be proven that Ambiga had indeed communicated such information to Rewcastle Brown, or if there is no truth in the information, Rewcastle Brown would therefore have failed to establish her defence in respect of that part of her Defence and Counterclaim.
The Malaysian Bar notes that although there are grave allegations made against numerous named individuals in the suit, it appears that Ambiga has been singled out. There has also been a bombardment of vicious and highly disparaging racist and sexist remarks made against her by various individuals, and a police report lodged, in relation to her alleged connection with the suit. We condemn these personal attacks.
It has been reported that the police are investigating her in respect of the averments contained in the Defence and Counterclaim filed by Rewcastle Brown. As these allegations are by Rewcastle Brown, and their truthfulness has yet to be established, there is no legal basis to investigate Ambiga. Any such investigation is tantamount to harassment and/or intimidation of a potential witness.
All witnesses and potential witnesses have a right not to be harassed or intimidated. Acts of harassment or intimidation may amount to contempt of the UK courts, and must cease immediately.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.