Court rejects Liew’s bid for fresh evidence in land grab case

Christina Liew and lawyer Samsuri Baharuddin want to introduce fresh evidence in their appeal against a High Court decision against them in 2014. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Court today dismissed an application by lawyer Christina Liew to introduce fresh evidence in her appeal against the High Court’s decision in ordering her and two others to pay RM577 million in damages in a land grab suit in 2014.

A five-member Federal Court bench led by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat dismissed the application by Liew and Samsuri Baharuddin and ordered them to pay cost of RM30,000.

Liew, who is now deputy chief minister, was a lawyer in the opposition at the time of the case in 2014.

The Federal Court said it agreed with the Court of Appeal’s decision on Sept 21, 2016, to dismiss the notice of motion to bring in fresh evidence in their appeal against the High Court’s decision.

It said the appellants had failed to meet the requirements to adduce fresh evidence.

The court had on Aug 3, 2017 granted leave to Liew and Samsuri to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss the notice.

The Tawau High Court had ruled on Sept 30, 2014, that Liew and two others had unlawfully induced a group of smallholders to breach their joint venture agreement with Borneo Samudera, a subsidiary of state-owned Sawit Kinabalu.

The other two were Samsuri, the attorney for a group of 819 smallholders in the Bagahak smallholders’ scheme, and Siti Rahfizah Mihaldin, Liew’s former clerk.

Justice Chew Soo Ho awarded RM557 million in damages to Borneo Samudera after ruling that it had proven the requisite conditions in law of inducement of breach of contract.

Liew, the appointed representative of the group, and her lawyers filed a notice of appeal against the decision.

Counsel Alex Decena and Leslie Chaw represented Liew and Samsuri in the Federal Court while counsel Mark Sitiwin appeared for Borneo Samudera.

Sitiwin told reporters they have yet to receive a date for the hearing at the Court of Appeal.