Sunday, August 3, 2008

Legal Maxim: Everyone is Innocent until Proven Guilty & Presumption of Innocent

I am obliged to say something regarding what is currently happen in Malaysia. The political phenomenon is very disturbing. At one side we can see clearly one political party (Barisan Nasional) in its desperate move trying to use the 'last weapon' of Malay Supremacy and Legacy issue burning the heart and conscious mind of Malays. On the other side, one party (Pakatan Rakyat) invoking the new idea of new era of liberalization in Malaysia, which is yet to be tested before on its practicality under Malaysian socio-politic.

Both sides may battle till the last drop of their blood. And we, the citizen is still left behind begging our interest not to be put at stake. Believe me, the citizen only welcome whoever take care our interest as proud citizen of Malaysia. Somehow, at this particular point of time the 'ball' is at Permatang Pauh voters' hand. We again put our hope to them to decide our future.

Meanwhile, be it whatever issue; Attantuya Case, sodomy case and so on as a good law abiding society, we must understand the carefully the meaning of legal maxim of 'everyone is innocent until proven guilty' and the 'presumption of innocent'. The basic principle already long accepted universally, internationally, and locally even in religious teaching be it Islam, Christian, and so on. United Nation Declaration of Human Rights 1948 Article 11 Section 1 endorsed the maxim crystal clear and so do the European Convention for Protection of Human Rights 1953 Article 6 section 2 and United Nation International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 14 section 2.

So unless, you saw the criminal act right in front of your bare eyes, you shall not speak or comment. Moreover, look may be decisive. Let the court of law do their duty to deliver judgment. But remember for the court, justice must not only to be done but must also be seen to be done. Otherwise the 'public-citizen court' takes over.

What current happen is that the citizen-court already in display, people are divided but clearly both sides ignoring the basic maxim of innocent until proven guilty. Those who are refusing to embrace this rule also mean rejecting to concept of presumption of innocent. May Allah and clear conscious mind guide us for the truth.


Kamarul Irzuan Bin Busu Piah, Advocate & Solicitor, High Court of Malaya.

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