(Used by permission)
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 (Bernama) –– The evidence of the New Zealand holiday trip of lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam and former Chief Justice Tun Eusoff Chin is relevant to the investigation of the Royal Commission of Inquiry because it shows the close relationship between the two men that could lead to the fixing of judicial appointments and decision of cases.
The Malaysian Bar representative Robert Lazar contended that the closeness of Lingam and Eusoff was mentioned by the speaker in the video clip, purportedly to be Lingam speaking on the telephone about appointment of judges.
He said the line of questioning on the New Zealand holiday in 1994, was within the scope of the commission's terms of reference because it addressed the truthfulness of the statement by the speaker that he was extremely close with Eusoff, and it would assist the commission in determining whom the speaker in the video clip was.
Lazar said that evidence was relevant to demonstrate the credibility or otherwise of those witnesses who were said to have been on the holiday.
Lazar referred a portion of the transcript of the conversation in the video clip which the Indian speaker said, "Eusoff Chin and I are extremely close you know. Yeah, Eusoff Chin in power, I can straight get Pom, Pom, Pom, Pom. But now Dzaiddin (former Chief Justice) is there and... Dzaiddin is attacking our cases that is why James Kumar is aligned to Dzaiddin. But Dzaiddin's retiring 15th of September. He's finished."
Lazar argued that that portion showed the purported close relationship between Lingam and Eusoff.
"This suggests the ends that were achieved by such a close relationship in the past and speaks of the intention of the speaker to re–establish access to judges for the possible purposes of influencing cases," Lazar said.
Lazar said the portion of the speaker's conversation, "Ah, as per our memo, I... I discussed with Tun... a... Tun Eusoff Chin and we sent the same memo to PM," also indicated that the speaker was able to influence the appointment of judges.
Referring to another portion of the conversation, "You know this is the same problem Tun Eusoff Chin had... he ran out of soldiers," Lazar said this part of the conversation suggested that the purpose for influencing the appointment and promotion of judges was to ensure that there were judges placed at the appropriate levels of the judiciary in order to ensure there would be people to do their bidding.
Lazar stressed that the video clip did not relate solely to judicial appointments but also to the fixing of cases.
"Hence, any misbehaviour must be related to the entirety of the contents of the video clip. The implications are not limited to the fixing of judicial appointments, but include any matter leading to or resulting from the fixing and brokering of judicial appointments," Lazar said.
Lazar said therefore that evidence must first be taken from Lingam before a ruling can be made on the admissibility of the evidence on the New Zealand trip.
Furthermore, he said, the "closeness of Lingam and Eusoff" was also raised by the conducting officer during his examination on Eusoff on Friday, and also because Lingam yesterday denied such a close relationship with Eusoff.
"Therefore questions and evidence challenging Eusoff and Lingam are directly relevant –– to establish the facts of the content of the conversation in the transcript, to rebut evidence of Eusoff and Lingam, and (to address) the issue of credibility."
The commission comprising Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor, Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, Datuk Mahadev Shankar, Puan Seri Zaitun Zawiyah Puteh and Professor Emeritus Dr Khoo Kay Khim, was set up to inquire into the controversial video clip allegedly showing Lingam brokering the appointment of judges over the telephone with a senior judge.
Meanwhile, counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin representing former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim (who is said to be the man on the other line of the phone) supported Lingam's stand that the evidence on the trip was irrelevant to the inquiry.
He contended that the scope of the commission's terms of reference was limited to appointment of judges and cannot go beyond its objective.
Counsel Alex De Silva representing consultant Loh Gwo Burne (the person who recorded the video clip) said the evidence of the New Zealand trip was related to the inquiry because if the evidence suggested that Lingam and Eusoff were close in 1994, it could be presumed that they continued to be close in 2001 when the video clip was recorded, unless there was evidence produced to say otherwise.
Counsel M. Puravelan for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, counsel Azahar Azizan Harun representing three NGO group, counsel Khoo Guan Huat for former Chief Justice Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah also share the same view with Lazar.
(Used by permission)