When Can Police Officers Arrest Without a Warrant?

What would be your immediate reaction if a police officer approached you with intent to arrest you? Would you not think that officer should be armed with a warrant of arrest to arrest you? Sorry, not in all case a warrant is needed because police officers in certain circumstances can arrest without any warrant. It has to be observed that although there are provisions under the law giving powers to police officers to arrest without a warrant, an arrest without a warrant should not be made a rule and in each and every case, for the power given is only permissive and not obligatory. It is only when obtaining a warrant of arrest from a magistrate would involve unnecessary delay which might defeat the arrest or which would cause unnecessary delay in effecting the arrest that an arrest without warrant can be justified [ Bir Bhodra v. D.M. Azamgarh, 1959 Cr.LJ 685 (All). Thus when the incident took place long before the arrest was made and the person who was to be arrested was a fairly known person, the arrest in such a case without a warrant calls for some explanation and if no explanation is offered, it cannot be […] read more

Can Police Take You Back to Police Station Once Bail Been Granted?

Many times we could find our friends and family members after being charged in court and been released on court bail or been released unconditionally being re-arrested by the police or by law enforcement officers outside court for the same offence based on the same facts. This happened to Jones. Some weeks ago, Jones was arrested by the police, produced in court and was charged for wrongfully confining James with intent to extort some property from James before a magistrates’ court. Jones was released on court bail after a date for trial was fixed, but, instead of being allowed to go home, Jones was re-arrested without a warrant of arrest by the police for the same offence of which Jones was charged and was taken to the Criminal Investigation Department for photographing and fingerprinting. Jones spent a few hours in the police station before being allowed to go home. On the day the case was fixed for trial, Jones came before the Magistrate court again and was discharged by the court unconditionally after the prosecution offered no evidence against him on the ground that Jones never committed the offence alleged. Jones’ reputation was tarnished and after consulting his lawyers, Jones […] read more

Is Kissing In Public Legal and An Acceptable Norm in Malaysia?

Malaysia is a multicultural country and it is not common to see Malaysians kissing in public but we may at times have some opportunities of seeing newly married couples kissing in the presence of their guests during wedding dinners. Most of the time when they were asked and teased by MCs to kiss and in amorous embrace, these newlywed couples may be seen to be very uncomfortable and shy. They had to do it especially when some of their guests insisted that they have to do it. What normally would be our reaction to such act then? Annoyed? Embarrassed? What is the position of the law in Malaysia? In a recent case, Ooi Kean Thong and Siow Ai Wei who were students were caught by the authorities when they were locked in an amorous embrace in a park beside the famous landmark, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. They were charged with disorderly behavior in public. The case went to the Federal Court of Malaysia. The Chief Justice, Tun Ahmad Fairuz commented that: “In England, those acts are acceptable to the people of that country, but, is kissing and hugging acceptable to Malaysian citizens? The federal court rejected a […] read more

Should we abolish death penalty?

Many countries in the world have abolished the death penalty, but, why Malaysia still cling on to death penalty as a form of punishment when many other countries had done away with it? We have several offences in statutes that provided for death penalty in Malaysia which include, murder and waging war against the King under the Penal Code, kidnapping for ransom under section 3 of the Kidnapping Act 1960 and trafficking dangerous drugs under 39B of the Dangerous Drugs 1952. Upon being found guilty, most death penalties are mandatory and the trial Judge has no discretion at all when come to sentencing to consider other range of possible sentences such as imprisonment in accordance with the circumstances of each and individual case. The sentence of death has been fixed by Parliament. It has been argued before the court that the death penalty is unconstitutional as it takes away the discretionary power of the Judges when passing sentences. No amount of mitigation put forward and sympathy from judges could this be changed. In handling criminal cases, the worst fear is that judges may hang an innocent person accused who never committed the crime charged. The famous case of Karthigesu some […] read more

Equality of Arms in Criminal Justice

Equality Of Arms The principle of equality of arms is classified as a sub-principle of fairness, whereby the accuser and the accused must be treated equally before the law. This approach is clearly endorsed in various instruments of international tribunals, and is reflected in the right to legal counsel at the expense of the Tribunal where the accused is indigent, the presumption of innocence and the requirement that guilt must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) is one of the most important instruments that codifies civil and human rights including the right to a fair trial, in which, has been adopted by most countries of the world and Malaysia, being a member of the United Nations should make this ICCPR as part of our law. As could be observed the right to “equality of arms” is enshrined in the ICCPR and these rights include four fundamental fair trial principles: All parties, including the defendant, must have an equal opportunity to present evidence and arguments before the court; No party to the proceedings should benefit from a substantive advantage over the other; All persons must have access to fair and effective remedies; Everyone […] read more

Trafficking In Dangerous Drugs and Murder Cases, Which One Is Easier to Defend?

Trafficking In Dangerous Drugs and Murder Cases, Which One Is Easier to Defend? To a defence lawyer nothing is easy when defending clients accused for trafficking in dangerous drugs and for murder cases. The simple reason is that the life of a prisoner is in the hands of the lawyer and the only sentence available in law is death by hanging. There is no alternative to plead to save the prisoner’s life however skillful is the defence lawyer. To a layman, the question always been asked is that, “Why defend a drugs trafficker? “Why defend a murderer?” The prejudice was always great and unjustified, but, to a lawyer a job has to be done to ensure that the prisoner has a fair trial and that if convicted, it must be based on credible evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecutor and that it was not a fixed up case. Witness Telling Lies! Prosecution Fixed Up Case? How can a lawyer be able to know that evidence has been fixed up against the prisoner or the witness was telling a lie? Very impossible! A lawyer may suspect lies been told and evidence been fixed up, but could not prove them. What the law requires in such circumstances is proof and nothing, but, suspicions […] read more