A year for a shoe

By Justice Seeker | March 08, 2012
The Malaysian Insider

MARCH 8 — The Federal Court may have been justified in throwing the book and jailing imam Hoslan Husin, had they done so on the day of the offence.

Because what he did, by tossing his shoes at them, was contempt in the face of the court and the offended quorum of judges would have been within their rights to hear the case there and then.

But the judges and the judiciary did not want the humiliation to go any further (that is why mainstream newspapers were asked by the Palace of Justice not to report the incident), so they allowed Hoslan to leave court.

The problem was that there is such a thing as online media and the case was reported widely. With the news now in the public domain, the powers that be had to swing into action.

And today’s one-year sentence was the culmination of the indignation of the same quorum who were insulted last month.

Justice must be seen to be done, and in this case, I dare say it wasn’t. The Federal Court judges who were entitled to hear the contempt in the face of the court hearing on the same day should not have sat in judgement of Hoslan today.

Because they are “interested” parties. These are the same judges who allowed Hoslan to walk free then, suggesting that they did not feel slighted by his action.

Now, after reading the reports and probably being ridiculed over the incident by friends and foes, they surely are not disinterested parties or dispassionate.

The one-year jail sentence will give the impression that this was score-settling.

It was against the tenets of natural justice for this same quorum to hear this belated contempt of court hearing. They should have stood down.

Justice must be seen to be done. Always. It is even arguable that instead of knocking out Hoslan’s appeal on a technicality of being out of time, the judges should have exercised better judgement and given him some leeway because he was not represented by legal counsel and would not have known about legal technicalities.

But that was an opportunity to show common sense, and today was an opportunity missed to show the even hand of justice.

Note: You can bet that the docile mainstream press will report today’s case in full. This is the same press who did not report even a word of the written judgement from the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial!

  1. #1 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 5:51 pm

    Like writer Justice Seeker, I don’t feel good or right about Hoslan Hussain being punished so severely with 1 yr jail sentence. Mercy & compassion should be shown to the Imam. The shoe throwing incident on Feb 22 was when he lost control out of sheer frustration that all his allegations of corruption going on in his mosque to the relevant agencies went unaddressed. He was frustrated because his complaints (for public interest) were not heard in Palace of Justice just because of a techical point from the opposing side of his affidavit being out of time. The imam is not schooled in dscipline of law and its procdures; and he was not represented by legal counsel. This does not imply I am saying procedural rules and laws should not be followed strictly by the Court. They should or else there will be chaos. Neither am I saying that his behviour of throwing shoes is defensible. It is not. Respect for the courts should be maintained and if people like him throw shoes at judges – which is an act of his contempt for the court- then he better not go to the courts in the first instance and disrupt proceedings there. I am just saying that the courts should show mercy considering these extenuating circumstances and not punish him so severely.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 5:58 pm

    A year for throwing a shoe and yet no punishment for criminal misapplication of RM250 million public fund.

  3. #3 by undertaker888 on Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 6:13 pm

    Umno justice. Cruel and laughable at the same time. One year for throwing shoes. Toyol stole millions also got one year. The best of all, motive to murder someone is not guilt.

    Next time hire a killer to kill someone. You will not be found guilty in bolehland. You have the motive but it is not you who kill the person. So not guilty. Only in bolehland. Mamakland.

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 6:27 pm

    The AG Dept wanted a deterrent custodial sentence and got it. I am disappointed the representative of Malaysian Bar agreed with the AG the need for deterrence. I think on two scores (non legal & legal) that you guys got it wrong. The non legal based on extenuating considerations of mercy/compassion (subjective, I agree) being already addressed in my preceding post. The other legal part is this: Hoslan threw his shoe at the judges on Feb 22. It was a clear direct contempt of court which had to be stopped as it impaired the Court’s administration of justice.The Court had the inherent power to commit him there and then summarily to jail for direct contempt of court. However they did not do so at that incipient point of time. They let him leave. One cannot days or weeks after subsequently charge him for direct contempt of court.

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 6:27 pm

    This is because days and weeks after the direct contempt and the clear and present danger posed by him on Feb 22 to disrupt the court’s administration of justice – which is the whole purpose and business of Direct Contempt to address and stop- was way over and past . Some may even argue that Hoslan he had been forgiven and if so the authorities should have the grace not to afterwards effect reprisals. If they want reprisals there is nothing to stop the authorities from charging him days and weeks after under section 353 of the Penal Code for the offence of assaulting or using criminal force on any public servant (like a judge) in the execution of his public duty. But he ought not to be now charged for Direct Contempt that is way past. I believe it makes sense for Direct contempt to apply at the moment of time of the offence: once no action was taken and he was let off, one can’t revive direct contempt (as distinct from indirect contempt outside the scope of this posting to elaborate). To justice Seeker I would say that the reason why the same judge offended on 22nd Feb now sat again to punish him – the reason is because they treat the matter as direct contempt and in cases of direct contempt the judge offended had the every right to judge and punish the wrongdoer. The problem is they treat the present day meting out of punishment as if it is stuill Feb 22nd and that’s where I think it is wrong and would argue that one cannot punish direct contempt way after the offending incidence!

  6. #6 by raven77 on Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 10:02 pm

    There will be a revolution in this country ultimately….only matter of time….

  7. #7 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 10:20 pm

    This is 1Malaysia and we have a ‘1’ Court. So ‘1’ year is consistent, as is everything else, with the ‘1’ Malaysia concept.

  8. #8 by cseng on Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 11:07 pm

    The face of court was contempted by the shoe.

    The face of public was contempted by judgement such as this: Murder motive ‘not essential’…

    When a former CJ’s wife wins a hi-way construction contract by merit (as what TDM said), more shoes go flying in court…

  9. #9 by cseng on Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 11:42 pm

    In future, it is the duty of our lawyer to advise their client, if they can not stomach whever written judgement by our judges, take out their shoes before entering to face the judge… that could spare 1 yr of their life in jail.

  10. #10 by Cinapek on Thursday, 8 March 2012 - 11:49 pm

    We need three judges of the highest court in the land months later to deliberate on a shoe throwing incident which should have been dealt with the moment it happened. Yet we have written judgements taking years to be written while the poor victims languish in jail because their appeals could not proceed becuase the judgement had yet to be written.

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 1:55 am

    There is a serious question here, whether as a matter of law and common sense, one can still punish Hoslan for Direct Contempt of Court when such a punishment was not sought and exacted at the moment when it happened on the 22nd Feb (to stop the then contemptuous behaviour on his part) but a month later way after the incident when the very purpose of holding Hoslan for Direct Contempt and the very mischief which the law of Direct Contempt seeks to address and stop – ie his disrespectful act in court disruptive of court proceedings – is already way past and has ceased to pose at the present moment a danger or threat to orderly conduct of the proceedings in court. It is a disconcerting surprise to me that the Bar Council, which was represented in the latest proceedings, has thought it fit to support the demand of the AG’s office for deterrent punishment without asking the basic question whether Direct Contempt could still be instituted at a time way after the incident when its purpose is no more in existence!

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 2:22 am

    Dis is JUSTICE 4 all 2 C: 1 year 4 a shoe thrown at a missed target
    Yet many instances of ACTUAL misdeeds, cruel actions, n murders went hardly punished
    SHAKE HEAD JUSTICE in dis land of failed state

  13. #13 by k1980 on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 7:40 am

    The shoes thrown cost at most RM50….. So Shahrizuk’s RM350 million scam can buy 7 million pairs of such shoes==> 7 million years sentence for her and her family

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 9:22 am

    TheMalaysianInsider reported March 8th : “The Bar would urge the Federal Court to review this sentence and show the same compassion which it did on the first occasion when the act of contempt happened by leaving the matter be — Bar Council President Lim Chee Wee.” Malaysian Bar’s urging for compassion on ground that the punishment is disproportionate to the offence is appropriate.

    However Mr Lim’s statement on behalf of the M’ysian Bar raises this question that the Bar should reflect and evaluate. Does it not strike Mr Lim & the Malaysian Bar as something not quite morally and legally wrong when the court is said by the Malaysian Bar/Mr Lim to have showed compassion “the first occasion when the act of contempt happened on 22nd Feb by leaving the matter be” which the Court could just a month later retract and rescind that compassion by imposing a severe sentence of 1 year for an offence that it appeared to have compassionately forgiven earlier???? The whole idea of putting a person in lock up (usually for just a few days) for direct contempt in face of court at the moment it was committed in court is to “purge” his contempt so that court proceedings could proceed with decorum and without interference. How is this objective of Contempt proceedings served in this instance when the Court/the Law apparently recoiled in either compassion or forgiveness on 22nd Feb and then subsequently changed its mind, extended its long arm and went after the offender with full vengeance and extreme prejudice under the excuse of “deterrence” that it didn’t think of doing in the 1st instance when the incident occurred? The Malaysian Bar representing 14 thousand + lawyers surely has resources to check its law on the basic issue of whether direct contempt is legally possible in such a scenario before talking about the disproportionate harshness of the punishment/sentence tat follows only if the 1st question is settled as “yes”in the affirmative.

  15. #15 by Jeffrey on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 9:28 am

    oops correction in 2nd & 3rd line of preceding post (currently under moderation) : “…as something not quite morally and legally RIGHT…” – (not wrong)

  16. #16 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 9:30 am

    Hmmm what about that contemptous display of shoe by one umno idiot in penang recently.

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 9:45 am

    The AG’s rep argued that a jail sentence was needed as a deterrent “It has brought ridicule to this honourable court.. A custodial sentence is warranted as a deterrent (to restore its dignity). How is this so? Is the apex Court’s dignity & moral position not better upheld by it by being consistent in its display of mercy and compassion appropriately shown at the first instance of the commission of offence of direct contempt on 22nd Feb instead of it subsequently and as an after thought retracting and rescinding that mercy and compassion already dispensed and going after the offender with vengeance under the banner of deterrence?

  18. #18 by negarawan on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 9:54 am

    The show throwing of Imam Hoslan is a symbolic act of disgust and disappointment of the Malaysian Rakyat against the corrupted judiciary. Imam Hoslan has a family to support and I think it is urgent that we rally public support for him and set up a charity fund for his family, irregardless of our religious backgrounds in the spirit of muhibbah. Free Imam Hoslan!

  19. #19 by Bigjoe on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 10:21 am

    I am just curious about what Hoslam said that the mosques are very corrupt too? Its not wise to mess with politics in mosque but seriously if there is proof…I mean imagine the disgust of Malay population if the mosque are corrupted?

  20. #20 by sheriff singh on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 10:53 am

    But the Imam threw two shoes. So it is 6 months each with deterrent thrown in.

    Else everyone will be throwing shoes which goes against the 1Malaysian behaviour, Rukun Tetangga, Rukun Negara, Moral Studies and National Service.

    The Federal Court judges must have felt so important (and offended) and high and mighty that their sentence must commensurate with their seniority and loss of face.

    But let us also not forget the crude and disrespectful behaviour of this imam, the leader of his community, who should have known and behaved better. We can’t have his flock all learning how to throw shoes whenever they don’t like something and offending judges in courts of law (hopefully not for ‘defending their religion’), can we?

  21. #21 by k1980 on Friday, 9 March 2012 - 2:00 pm

    Like Razak Bagondo, he will be acquitted for lack of motive in cheating the people


  22. #22 by monsterball on Saturday, 10 March 2012 - 1:14 am

    A year for a shoe and non for slaps by policemen for no reasons.
    Shoe man hates Govt.
    Some policemen are hooligans…simply love Najib. That’s the difference.

  23. #23 by boh-liao on Saturday, 10 March 2012 - 9:33 am

    A school in Pekan is having a fund-raising FUNFARE, lots of game stores n 1 of them is 4 RM1, U will have 3 chances 2 THROW a SHOE or SLIPPER at d EFFIGIES of local politicians, MPs included; strike 1 of them n win a great prize, a COWdominium

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