By Voon Lee Shan: GUILTY BEFORE FOUND GUILTY? The amendment of section 114A of the Evidence Act 1950 that shifts the burden of proof to the accused person for offences in connection with the internet is contrary to the principle of justice. The use of internet to disseminate information had caused easy access to information besides as a medium used by many irresponsible users to disseminate defamatory, seditious, obscene and other negative materials. Of course one should be against these, but, what will happen if some used an illiterate person to open an account in the internet, the illiterate person who doesn’t know how to secure his wifi account will surely be in deep trouble with the law. If that happens and legislations shift the burden of proof to him by way of presumptions in the law, how the hell can that person be able to rebut the presumption? Is this fair? In criminal trials it is not only a universal concept, but, also is a human right that a person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. There is no burden on the accused person to disprove the allegations against him throughout the whole […] read more


Law on arrest is complex and technical and many may not understand when he is under arrest and when under arrest, what should he do next and also what the arresting officer should do during and after arrest made. It is an area of law where liberty and live of persons are fundamental and are protected under Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution and also under relevant laws. When stopped by a police officer in a public place or while driving and you are at that moment prevented to go anywhere, the first question that you need to ask is “Am I under arrest?” A police officer has no power simply to stop and detain a person simply just to ask a question. If an officer detains a person who walks away after refusing to answer questions then it is likely this will amount to false imprisonment if the detention is based on nothing more than this – Samuels v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (1999) 3 March, unreported. You may not be aware that at that moment you were already been put under arrest by the police officer arresting you. If doubtful, the best thing is to ask […] read more

Human Rights And Presumptions As An Aid In Criminal Prosecutions

Human Rights And Presumptions As An Aid In Criminal Prosecutions Human rights are commonly understood as an inalienable fundamental right to which a person is inherently entitled because he or she is a human being. The concept of human right has universal application and human rights come with them natural rights or as a legal right in both, but, what is meant by “right” has always been controversial and subject to debate. Such “right” includes the right not to be tortured, the right to remain silent, the right to a fair trial, the right to own property, the right to an adequate standard of living and the right of equal protection and equal treatment and equality before the law. The concept of human rights also came with it the right to be presumed innocence until proven guilty, by a court of competent jurisdiction to try the case. Such a right of being presumed innocence is also a legal right under the law. In a trial the prosecution has the legal duty and burden to prove the case against the accused person and the standard of proof is proof beyond reasonable doubt. When charged in court, as said earlier, human rights demand that all accused persons should be given equal protection […] read more

Death Penalty and Inherent Right To Life

A defence lawyer who was worn out of a lengthy trial involving a drugs case who looked sad and angry recently said, “Who pays the ultimate penalty for crimes? The poor! Who gets the death penalty? The poor and it is the poor who is selected to die in this country! Why do the poor people get the death penalty? It is simple because unlike the rich fellows, the poor has no money to afford good lawyers and the poor could not pay experts to help them! Capital punishment means without capital, you get death penalty! And lawyers who are not paid adequately in defending the poor has no alternative, but, to close his shop and leave the legal profession!” Life of a person is given by God and many would say that no one should take a person’s life away except by God, but, there are people who believe that there’s nothing wrong to take away a person’s life if he has committed a heinous crime or crime against humanity. Many countries now have abolished the death penalty as a punishment because to take away a person’s life is cruel, inhumane and inherent immoral and reflects an uncivilized society. […] read more

Want to Evade Stamp Duties And Pay Lesser Fees to Lawyers in Purchase of Property?

A purchaser came during lunch time and had inquired from me how to evade stamp duties payable on purchase of a landed property and of  course he also wanted cheaper legal fees be paid in the purchase of the property. To him, paying lower stamp duties comes with it also lower legal fees in property transactions. “Wow! It’s a good idea!” I told him. I also told him, “Now, you also want free lunch?” He smiled and to his delight, I offered him some sweets but, no free lunch! He was happy before we started our conversations further. It seems that any small thing which is a benefit or a gain to him, however small, seems good thing to him. We can’t blame him because human nature teaches him to take advantage of opportunities that come along his way. I then asked him, what will happen if the government has no money to run the country? Will there be development for us? If you are running the government what should you do? He just kept quiet and listened to me. I also asked him if he is a lawyer dealing with property transactions, what should he do when his clients insist paying […] read more

Evidence of Drugs Analysts, can they be challenged?

The Position in Malaysia In Malaysia the evidence of identification of illicit drugs were done by government chemists and under section 399(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, reports prepared by government chemists could be admitted as evidence provided ten clear days been given to the accused person before the commencement of the trial. If served less than ten days the report should be objected to when the prosecution wanted to tender it as evidence. It has been observed that although always been challenged, it was rare for the courts in the country not to accept the evidence of government chemists as accurate. Their reports when introduced were assumed to be accurate as to the identity of the illicit drugs seized and tendered in court. Can Evidence of Drug Analysts Be Challenged? However, advancement of science does not mean that the accuracy of drugs analysis and drugs identification by government chemists as drugs analysts could not be challenged and be disputed at all. In the United States and UK, crime labs have been subjected to too much criticism in the past decade, much of it because of DNA evidence that has shown that many prisoners were innocent. In many instances, prisoners […] read more