Cop fails to recuse judge from hearing his terrorism cases

mustaza

KUALA LUMPUR: A policeman, currently standing trial on three counts of terrorism, failed in his bid today to recuse a High Court judge from hearing his case on the grounds of possible bias.

Justice Nordin Hassan, in his judgment, said the accused, Mustaza Abdul Rahman, had failed to prove there was real danger of bias for him to hear the case.

“As a judge, I cannot simply recuse myself because this would be seen as avoiding my responsibilities.”

In his application filed to drop the judge in his case, Mustaza alleged Justice Nordin and deputy public prosecutor Mustafa P Kunyalam had held a “meeting” inside the chambers on Jan 25.

He suspected there was something amiss with the meeting.

Mustaza added the judge also did not ask the prosecution to explain why it had only handed the trial documents to his lawyer two days before the trial started.

During submission, his current lawyer, Farida Mohammad, argued that a judge “meeting” prosecution behind closed doors was seen as unfair to Mustaza and may prejudice the outcome of his case.

“There was a perception of ‘pre-judgment’ in his mind that he will be called to enter his defence,” she said.

Mustafa refuted the “meeting” took place between him and the judge.

“He cannot provide facts that I really walked into the chambers.

“I used the staff passage to prepare for the protected witnesses to testify for the trial.”

He added the recusal application was baseless as it was made by Mustaza doubting the court and prosecution team.

Justice Nordin also dismissed the meeting claim between him and the prosecution.

“To say a judge is being ‘biased’ based on one person’s perception is serious (claim),” he said, adding the staff passage does not only lead to his chambers but also to the witnesses’ room and other judges’ chambers.

Mustaza is currently facing two charges for supporting terrorism activities through the Telegram app on his phone and supporting terrorism by pursuing an ideological struggle.

He was also slapped with a charge of concealing information from the authorities related to terrorist acts.

If found guilty, he will be jailed up to 30 years.

Mustaza’s family members also lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) on Feb 9 claiming he was being denied a fair trial.

His trial has been fixed for April 19.