GEORGE TOWN: The prosecution should appeal the Penang High Court's decision to grant former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon full acquittal of their corruption charges, senior lawyers here said. Datuk Ranjit Singh Dhillon said the appeal should be filed immediately now that the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) had also clarified that the prosecution had only sought a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNA) for the charges against both accused but the court had instead freed them. He said the AGC must do the right thing to protect the integrity of the institution in light of public backlash following what had happened. He said it was also the right thing for Tommy Thomas to do to preserve his integrity as the Pakatan Harapan-appointed Attorney-General. "The AGC has clarified that the prosecution had only asked for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal under provisions in Section 254(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code. It had not asked for a full acquittal. "The judge, however, granted a full acquittal instead. As such, the prosecution should lodge an appeal to the court immediately," he said.
Datuk Baljit Singh also echoed calls for the prosecution to appeal the court decision to free both accused. Pix by Ramdzan Masiam
Ranjit said an even more compelling reason for the AGC to appeal the decision was the fact that the then senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Abdul Rashid Daud had said in his opening statement during the start of the trial that the prosecution would prove Lim had bought his Jalan Pinhorn bungalow from Phang at a price known to be below market rate, and that at the time the purchase was made, Lim had allowed an application by Phang's company to change the status of a plot of land from agriculture land to one meant for housing. Meanwhile, another senior lawyer here, Datuk Baljit Singh also echoed calls for the prosecution to appeal the court decision to free both accused. Baljit said even the AGC had pointed out that the prosecution had only applied for a DNA but the court had granted a full acquittal instead. “Therefore, the only right thing to do is file an appeal against the decision immediately,” he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd