The Malay Mail
BY EDDIE CHUA
THE verdict to acquit and discharge senior lawyer Datuk Balwant Singh by Judge Datuk S. Augustine Paul should not be deemed as a "licence to kill" but a deterrent to road bullies.
This is the Bar Council's view on the judgment.
"The verdict clearly displays the right to private defence," said council president Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari.
"It provides how one should react when threatened." Kuthubul said Balwant's case had its own peculiar facts for the judge to free him.
"I am certain all the evidence and testimonies of witnesses have been weighed before the judgment was delivered," he said.
He said the judgment would certainly be a deterrent to would–be road bullies, instead of calling the verdict a "licence to kill".
"In Balwant's case, it has its own circumstances that led to the event." Balwant, 82, was acquitted and discharged on Wednesday, of murdering a dispatch rider last year.
The judge ruled that Balwant had not committed any offence when he gunned down R. Gobala Krishnan, 33, who was armed with a stick when he confronted the lawyer in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
Paul, in his 99–page judgment, said Balwant had done everything possible to pacify Gobala's aggression.
"He tried to explain matters to the deceased who was not bothered, he showed his gun to the deceased who became more aggressive. He then fired a warning shot which did not deter the deceased." Paul had said the action and behaviour of Gobala was not only aggressive, but was that of a road bully who had no regard or respect for the law.
He also stated: # It makes no difference that Gobala was armed with a stick, and Balwant with a gun; # Serious injuries need not be inflicted but the injury that may be inflicted if the right is not exercised, must be considered; and, # A gun may be used in private defence and that the right to extend, even to killing the aggressor.
Paul said in the situation that Balwant was in, there was no way he could have sought the protection of a public authority or anyone else.
The judge's findings also stated that the apprehension of danger Balwant had faced, entitled him to exercise his right of private defence.
But, the Attorney–General's office said the prosecutors were likely to appeal against the decision to acquit Balwant.