The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) is in the headlights again. Hot on the heels of the controversial Parti Liyani case, it has now been revealed that there could have been issues with yet another case – that of Malaysian inmate Gobi Avedian.
For those unaware, Gobi was previously sentenced to death for drug trafficking by the Court of Appeal after the court overturned the High Court’s earlier decision to acquit him of the capital charge and convict him on a lesser charge for trafficking a “Class C” controlled drug into Singapore.
In setting aside Gobi’s capital charge, the Court of Appeal held that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gobi had a clear, grounded and targeted suspicion that what he was told or led to believe about the nature of the drugs was untrue.
Furthermore, the written judgement noted the Prosecution had ran a different case in its appeal.
The court observed that the Prosecution’s case against Gobi at the trial was not one of actual knowledge, but one of wilful blindness: “On the other hand, it is undisputed that the Prosecution’s case on appeal was one of actual knowledge”.
This means that Gobi could have been wrongfully hanged had his lawyer M Ravi not appealed against the High Court decision.
In other words, Ravi saved a life.
One would have thought that the authorities would be relieved by this – that someone who did not deserve to die did not die.
Instead of conceding that they might have made errors, the AGC has launched a disciplinary complaint against Ravi.
Apparently, the AGC took great umbrage to Ravi saying, among other things, that the prosecution had been “overzealous” in handling his client’s case.
The Gobi case indicates that the prosecution could have pressed ahead with pursuing the death penalty against Gobi despite not having the requisite amount of evidence to discharge its burden of prove. Does this not sound eerily similar to what happened in Parti’s case?
Parti was charged and the Prosecution pressed ahead with the case despite evidentiary issues that were revealed at the High Court which saw the case thrown out.
Despite what has been revealed at the High Court, it is noteworthy that the AGC has not yet apologised and Parti is mounting a complaint of misconduct against the prosecutors in her case.
In both these cases, it was only when they were brought before the higher courts that the accused persons were saved. In Parti’s case, she was exonerated. In Gobi’s case, his life was spared from the gallows.
While these cases both had positive eventual outcomes, questions must be asked of how the Prosecutors make their charging decisions.
Looking at how both cases seem to lack sufficient evidence to discharge the requisite burden of proof, is Ravi so wrong in saying that the prosecution had been “over zealous”?