Lawyer Datuk Khairul Anwar Rahmat arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court April 20, 2022. — Picture by Hari Anggara
JOHOR BARU, April 21 – Four senior lawyers, appointed by Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, will apply to appear as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the trial of Rumah Bonda welfare home founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali, who is charged with abusing a child with Down Syndrome.
At present, all four are keeping a watching brief at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
They are Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu, Datuk Khairul Anwar Rahmat, Datuk Ikbal Salam and Mohd Radzi Yatiman.
Lawyer Khairul Anwar Rahmat today indicated that the team appointed by Tunku Ismail will apply to appear as amicus curiae on behalf of the alleged abused victim in the case who is only known as Bella.
“Alhamdulillah, our application to attend the trial for a watching brief was allowed by this esteemed court yesterday.
“However, as discussed with the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) and trial judge, we are also considering being more actively involved in these proceedings by applying as amicus curiae once we receive complete documentation and records of the case.
“It is important for us to assist the court and the prosecutor in achieving justice for Bella,” said Khairul Anwar when contacted by Malay Mail today.
Amicus curiae is considered a step-up from keeping a watching brief in a court trial. It is usually initiated by an individual or organisation who is not a party to a legal case, but is permitted to assist a court by offering information, expertise or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case.
Khairul Anwar stressed that all four appointed lawyers will focus on the court proceedings as directed by Tunku Ismail.
He added that the team will also conduct themselves ethically and professionally as the case is one of public interest.
“We will submit a complete report regarding the proceedings of this case to DYAM Tunku Mahkota Johor (Tunku Ismail) and Che’ Puan Besar Khaleeda (Bustamam).
“After approval, we will also forward the report to the Welfare Department’s (JKM) stakeholders to ensure that not only Bella, but also other children will be protected in future,” he said.
Last Sunday, it was reported that Tunku Ismail was prepared to offer the services of lawyers for free to conduct a watching brief on Bella’s abuse case.
Tunku Ismail, who is popularly known as “TMJ” (the Malay initials for the Johor Crown Prince), took to his official Facebook account, to announce that he would be contacting the Family, Women and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun regarding the matter.
Following that, all four lawyers were allowed by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court yesterday to keep a watching brief in the trial of Siti Bainun.
Siti Bainun, 30, is currently on trial for charges of abuse and neglect resulting in physical and emotional distress to Bella.
She pleaded not guilty to two charges of neglecting and abusing the girl, causing the victim to suffer physical and emotional injuries at a condominium in Wangsa Maju in Kuala Lumpur between February and June 2021.
The case is framed under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001 which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment or a fine of RM50,000 or both, if convicted.