PUTRAJAYA: The contempt hearing of Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam before a High Court, originally set for March 13, has been vacated pending the disposal of an appeal at the appellate court.
A three-member Court of Appeal bench chaired by Yaacob Md Sam today said they prefer to hear submissions by Lokman’s counsel and the prosecution together on March 31.
Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who represented Lokman, earlier suggested that he make his submission, saying it would only take about 30 minutes.
Yaacob, who sat with Rhodzariah Bujang and Hanipah Farikullah, then allowed Shafee’s application to stay the proceeding before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
The appeal before the bench is whether a contempt action is to be initiated by the court or former attorney-general Tommy Thomas, as was done in Lokman’s case.
The appeal was also delayed as Lokman only filed his petition of appeal which states where Sequerah had erred in procedure regarding contempt.
Shafee said he had obtained Sequerah’s grounds of judgment on March 2 and filed the petition the following day.
“A copy of the petition was extended to the respondent (prosecution) that same day,” he added. “I believe they need time to reply.”
Deputy public prosecutor Dusuki Mokhtar raised no objection to the stay application and for the appeal to be heard on March 31.
On Jan 14, Sequerah dismissed Lokman’s application to set aside the leave obtained by Thomas to cite him for contempt over alleged intimidation of a witness in Najib Razak’s 1MDB corruption trial.
On Oct 22, Sequerah had allowed Thomas to initiate committal proceedings against Lokman for allegedly threatening witness Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.
The prosecution submitted that Lokman’s comments about Amhari were not only tantamount to threatening the witness or other potential witnesses, but also an act of undermining the administration of justice.
Lokman lodged a police report challenging Amhari’s credibility as a witness following the latter’s admission in the witness stand that he had received a US$200,000 loan from fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.
The prosecution said Lokman also gave a video interview where he allegedly attacked the integrity of the attorney-general.