AG denies interrupting Adib inquest

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas.

SHAH ALAM: Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas has denied claims by Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s family that he interrupted the proceedings of the inquest into the fireman’s death.

He said the family’s allegations were levelled against him after his media statement on May 28 stating that Syazlin Mansor, the lawyer representing the housing and local government ministry at the time, was in a “conflicted position” and had contradicted the position of the deputy public prosecutors in the proceedings.

In an affidavit filed in objection to the contempt proceeding sought against him, he said he had issued the statement to clarify the situation and to clear any confusion about Syazlin’s withdrawal from the inquest proceedings.

Adib’s father Mohd Kassim Abdul Hamid had sought to cite Thomas for contempt, accusing the AG of interfering in the inquest into his son’s death.

Kassim also claimed that Thomas had attempted to stop Syazlin from exercising her duty as a lawyer.

Syazlin withdrew from representing the ministry as well as Adib’s family after Thomas told the ministry to revoke her appointment.

She later agreed to return as the family’s lawyer after Kassim asked her to stay.

In his affidavit, Thomas said Syazlin’s “sudden withdrawal” had caused much confusion and speculation in the Coroner’s Court as well as among the public.

The AG also denied instructing his former deputy public prosecutor, Hamdan Hamzah, to file an affidavit for an appeal issued in relation to the inquest.

“I never met Hamdan, and any affidavit affirmed by him is within his scope of work,” he said.

“I did not give instructions as to the filing or contents of his affidavit.”

In his affidavit for an appeal by the Sri Maha Mariamman temple task force to participate in the inquest, Hamdan said Adib was not beaten by anyone during the temple riot on Nov 27 last year.

Hamdan, who left the civil service and is now a lawyer, filed his affidavit along with Thomas.

He denied attempting to interrupt the proceedings when filing his affidavit to object to the task force’s appeal.

The Coroner’s Court set Aug 9 to hear two preliminary issues over the filing of contempt proceedings against the AG.

Lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla, acting for Adib’s family, told coroner Rofiah Mohamad that they wanted to resolve two issues before the court could hear their application to obtain leave to initiate the contempt proceedings.

“The two issues are whether the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) could be heard at the leave stage when the father, as an applicant, sought to initiate the committal proceeding against the government’s legal adviser, as well as whether the court can entertain affidavits filed by the AG himself and another during the leave stage,” he said.

Senior federal counsel S Narkunavathy, representing the AGC, raised no objection to the court sorting out the preliminary issues first.

Rofiah then told Haniff and Narkunavathy to file their written submissions on the two issues by Aug 5.