©New Straits Times (Used by permission)
KUALA LUMPUR: As expected, the latest amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) received the thumbs–up from lawyers and non–governmental agencies.
Bar Council chairman Yeo Yang Poh said there had been far too many complaints about the manner in which cautioned statements had been procured.
"With the doing away of cautioned statements, these complaints will be laid to rest," he said.
The police would now have be more thorough and professional in their investigations and not just rely on confessions, he said.
"After all the aim is to get to truth of the matter," he said.
On public prosecutors having to provide documents and other evidence to defence lawyers ahead of a trial, Yeo said such full and frank disclosures would serve the justice system well.
"We commend the Attorney General and support these amendments," he added.
Chairman of the Bar Council Criminal Law Committee Datuk V.Sithambaram agreed that with such frank disclosures, lawyers for the accused would be better able to advise their clients whether to plead guilty or claim trial.
"Formerly we could only advise clients based on what they said," he said.
"I used to call it 'trial by ambush'", he said.
Under the amendment, he said, the Deputy Public Prosecutor would be bound to give the defence a statement of evidence even if it was in favour of the accused.
"It was good that the A–G and the Government had seen the validity of the Bar Council’s arguments", he added.
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) vice–chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun welcomed the amendments as they could reduce the abuse of law and promote justice.
"What is important here is that justice will be upheld," he said.