Monday, 29 June 2009

Judge, jury, executioner?

Here's a story about a judge who not only wants to bring the cane back into the courtroom but he also wants to implement justice himself. The big question is whether it is right for a person to play judge, jury and executioner at the same time.

In this rare court ruling, a sales promoter who admitted to armed robbery was ordered to be caned 10 times in the court premises. And the judge would want to do the caning himself.

According to The Star, Sessions Court judge Zainal Abidin Kamarudin ordered Muhammad Syafiq Abd Wahab, 20, to be caned by him (the judge) in the presence of his parents on July 15 using canes supplied by the court. He said 10 light canes were to be used to carry out the sentence as provided for under the Criminal Procedure Code for youthful offenders. He then turned to the parents and told the father, pensioner Abd Wahab Jonit, 64, that the offence was rarely passed by court but urged him to accept it. “I know it is not a nice feeling for a father to watch his son being caned but it has to be done by a judge,” he said.

All I can say to this robber bugger is "padan muka" (serves you right). I may not agree with the judge doing the executioner's part of the sentence but armed robbery is still a serious crime. A dose of public humiliation will do the bugger good.

In yesterday's newspaper, however, it was reported that the Chief Justice has asked a senior High Court judge to look into this matter. There were concerns over human rights and whether a judge could be the executioner of his sentence as well.

But it was also mentioned that a magistrate had imposed and carried out such a sentence some 20 years ago and that it had been done by magistrates sitting in juvenile courts a long time ago. "These days, it’s rarely imposed, but magistrates used to carry out such caning in their chambers in the presence of the two juvenile court advisers, the prosecuting officer and a parent," said a former member of the Judicial and Legal Services.

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