It is not Malaysian prisoner Gobi Avedian’s counsel Ravi Madasamy who is tarnishing the Attorney-General’s Chamber (AGC)’s reputation, said anti-death penalty activist and journalist Kirsten Han on Tuesday (20 October).
She made her comments following the AGC’s rebuttal of lawyer’s comment that they had been overzealous in their conduct of the case against his client.
On Monday, the Court of Appeal set aside the death sentence of Mr Gobi after acquitting him from a capital charge.
Following this decision, Mr Ravi remarked that he felt the AGC had been “overzealous” in their handling of the case.
Mr Ravi went on to demand that those involved apologise for the suffering this process has caused his client and client’s family.
Noting that the court itself had called into question the “fairness of the prosecution”, Mr Ravi demanded: “I am saying this to the State and the prosecution and the Minister of Law: Please apologise to Gobi and for the suffering his family and he has gone through during this process, because the prosecution, the court has observed, ran a different case in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.”
Following this, the AGC said in a statement the next day that Mr Ravi’s claim that they were “overzealous” is “false and highly inflammatory” and “categorically false”, adding that the “sought to mischaracterise the reasons for the decision issued by the Court of Appeal.”
It stated, “It is highly improper and entirely contrary to Mr Ravi’s obligations as an officer of the court for him to make these unfounded, baseless and misleading allegations.”
Ms Han pointed out that Gobi ended up on death row after the AGC appealed his initial acquittal and has not been acquitted from the capital charge by the Court of Appeal who reviewed the case because it “cleared the high legal threshold of there likely being a miscarriage of justice”, which they eventually found there was.
“The AGC is now throwing a hissy fit and threatening to lodge complaints against the lawyer for saying, among other things, that they should apologise to the man who spent two years thinking he was going to be hanged,” she said.
“Don’t you love it when the most powerful ones in the equation also want to insist that they are the most wronged?” She questioned.
Ms Han went on to stress that the AGC’s conduct was a “major factor” in almost killing a man and that Mr Ravi’s conduct saved him. Though in the process, the AGC lost “face”.
“Yet it is the AGC who is now making threats and demanding apologies,” she said.
“It is my humble opinion that if anyone is tarnishing the AGC’s reputation, it isn’t Ravi.”
Background of the case
Mr Gobi was initially sentenced to death for drug trafficking by the Court of Appeal which had overturned the decision of the High Court to acquit him of the capital charge and convict him on a lesser charge of trafficking in a “Class C” controlled drug instead. The AGC had appealed the High Court’s decision, which led to the Court of Appeal overturning the acquittal the first time.
On appeal, Gobi’s acquittal was reversed and the Court of Appeal convicted him as charged, sentencing him to death as he did not fulfil the requirements for alternative sentencing in October 2018. His petitions to the president for clemency was rejected in July 2019.
Later, Mr Ravi filed an application to reopen the case. Eventually, the Court of Appeal overturned its earlier acquittal due to change in law and that the prosecution had ran a different case in its appeal. It reinstated the sentence of 15 years imprisonment and 10 strokes of the cane which was imposed in respect of the earlier amended charge, and backdated the sentence to the date of Gobi’s remand.