Sri Ram to remain as senior DPP after court dismisses appeals by Najib and Shafee

(Malaysia Now) – Former prime minister Najib Razak and his lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah today failed in their appeals to disqualify Gopal Sri Ram as senior deputy public prosecutor (DPP) in their respective court cases.

A three-man panel comprising justices Yaacob Md Sam, Lee Heng Cheong and Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the appeals brought by Najib and Shafee.

“We are of the view that we have no doubt that Sri Ram is more than qualified as a fit and proper person to be appointed as senior DPP,” said Yaacob who delivered the court’s decision.

He said then attorney-general Tommy Thomas had also been satisfied that Sri Ram was a fit and proper person within the meaning of Section 376 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to be appointed as senior DPP.

Yaacob said the court agreed with the High Court judge that there was nothing in Section 376 (3) of the CPC which provides that a fit and proper person to be a DPP must come from the judicial and legal services or be a public servant, adding that there was no such requirement in law.

The Court of Appeal judge said it was clear in amending Section 376 (3) of the CPC that the Parliament had intended to give power to the attorney-general to appoint and designate any fit and proper person as senior DPP.

Yaacob said the court was also of the opinion that Section 376 (3) is a stand-alone provision on the appointment of anyone who is considered a fit and proper person to be appointed as DPP or senior DPP.

He said the section was amended to allow the attorney-general/public prosecutor to appoint a DPP so that the conduct of the prosecution is handled by an experienced DPP commensurate to the corresponding complexity of the case.

He also said both Najib and Shafee had failed to prove that the attorney-general had acted in contravention of the laws or in mala fide in appointing Sri Ram as senior DPP.

“The High Court did not err in dismissing the judicial review (brought by Najib and Shafee) which warrants appellate intervention,” he said.