Court rules no need for Guan Eng to file defence before graft trial
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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — The Court of Appeal ruled today in Lim Guan Eng’s corruption case that a provision of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which requires the accused to file a defence before the trial starts, was unconstitutional.
The Penang chief minister’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said the appellate court also set aside the Penang High Court’s orders directing his client to file a defence statement before commencement of the trial.
“Court of Appeal rules section 62 of the MACC Act 2009 unconstitutional,” Gobind said in a brief statement on Facebook.
Section 62 states that once delivery of documents by the prosecution has taken place, the accused shall, before the start of the trial, deliver a defence statement setting out the nature of the defence and copies of documents which will be tendered as part of the evidence for the defence.
Lim along with businesswoman Phang Li Koon were charged with graft over his house purchase deal last year.
Lim was charged with using his public office or position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew, by approving an application by Phang’s company, Magnificent Emblem, to convert agricultural land to residential purpose during a state planning committee meeting on July 18, 2014.
Lim is alleged to have used his position to obtain gratification by purchasing his house from Phang at RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million on July 28, 2015.
Phang, meanwhile, was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code for abetting Lim on July 28 last year in regards to his purchase of the house on Pinhorn Road from her for RM2.8 million which was below the market value or RM4.27 million whereby Lim had allegedly committed an offence under Section 165 of the Penal Code.