PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today struck out the prosecution’s appeal against an order by the Court of Appeal to compel it to provide the defence in the murder trial of Kim Jong Nam, with the cautioned statements of seven of its witnesses.
Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who led the five-member bench, ruled that the appeal was academic as Siti Aisyah’s case had properly been disposed of. Hence, there was no longer a “live issue” as far as the criminal case was concerned.
She said Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code was not of general public interest and importance as the public prosecutor was not without any other recourse in respect of the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
The decision by the bench, which also comprised Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak David Wong Dak Wah and Federal Court judges Rohana Yusuf, Idrus Harun and Vernon Ong Lam Kiat was unanimous.
Earlier, the bench ruled that the court could proceed to hear the prosecution’s appeal in spite of Siti Aisyah’s absence in court.
The bench heard arguments on whether it had the jurisdiction to hear the appeal although the matter involving Siti Aisyah, 27, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 30, had been disposed of.
Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas submitted that the court should hear the appeal on merits as there were questions of general interest or importance.
He earlier gave an undertaking that he would not indict Siti Aisyah again following a court decision in March this year to grant her a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA).
According to Siti Aisyah’s lawyer Gooi Soon Seng, the matter was not one affecting public interest but merely affected the rights of his client during the trial.
In view of the AG’s undertaking that he would not charge Siti Aisyah again, the whole case has become academic, submitted counsel.
Lawyer Rajpal Singh, who kept a watching brief for the Bar Council, concurred with Gooi that there was no longer a need to address the matters on appeal.
Lawyer Kitson Foong, who kept a watching brief for two witnesses Ahmad Fuad Ramli and Tomie Yoshio, whose statements the defence had sought, submitted that there was no longer a live issue to be determined by the court in light of the AG’s undertaking.
Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan were initially charged with four others still at large with the murder of Kim Chol or Kim Jong Nam, 45, the elder brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 departure hall about 9 am on Feb 13, 2017.
On Aug 16, 2018, the High Court ordered them to enter their defence.
Siti Aisyah filed an application on Nov 7, 2018, seeking to compel the prosecution to provide the cautioned statements of seven witnesses but the Shah Alam High Court on Dec 18, the same year, dismissed her application.
In January this year, the Court of Appeal allowed her appeal and ordered the prosecution to furnish the defence with the statements.
Siti Aisyah was given a DNAA after the prosecution withdrew the charge against her on March 11, this year.
Doan, meanwhile, was sentenced to three years and four months in jail after she pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means to Jong Nam.