Court throws out application for review of Guan Eng’s acquittal

Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here today rejected an application by Facebook account holder Muhsin Abdul Latheef for a review of the court’s decision to acquit and discharge former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon of corruption charges.

Judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail said Muhsin, as the complainant in the case, had no locus standi to file the application.

“The applicant is the complainant in this case and not the accused. For criminal cases, according to Article 145 of the Federal Constitution, only the attorney-general has the power to conduct or discontinue (any proceedings for an offence), not the court.

“Other people cannot speak, the attorney-general has the power. Like it or not, we have to follow Article 145 of the Federal Constitution,” she said.

For criminal cases, she added, dissatisfied parties could file an application at the Court of Appeal.

Hadhariah said Section 278 of the Criminal Procedure Code clearly showed that the court could not alter or review the judgment.

Outside the courtroom, lawyer Gunamalar Joorindajn, representing the complainant, said she would file an appeal soon at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya.

Muhsin filed the application last month to obtain an order for a review of Lim and Phang’s acquittal and discharge.

In the application, made under Section 278 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Muhsin named the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy public prosecutor, Lim and Phang as the first, second and third respondent, respectively.

Lim and Phang were acquitted by the High Court on Sept 3 of corruption charges following applications by their lawyers for them to be fully acquitted.