PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court here today allowed Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to take over the contempt of court proceedings against lawyer Datuk V. K. Lingam and 24 others for alleging a Federal Court bench of plagiarising its judgment in a civil case.

A five-man bench chaired by Federal Court judge Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar made the order for the Attorney-General to take over as the applicant in the contempt of court proceedings, substituting two liquidators of Kian Joo Holdings Sdn Bhd (KJH) who were the original applicants in the proceedings.

Justice Suriyadi also granted the application brought by the liquidators Ooi Woon Chee and Ng Kim Tuck to discontinue the contempt of court proceedings against the respondents.

He also ordered the the liquidators’ lawyer Lim Chee Wee to hand over the cause papers of the proceedings to the Attorney-General within seven days from today.

The judge then fixed Dec 8 for hearing of the contempt of court proceedings against the respondents.

Earlier, counsel Gopal Sri Ram informed the court that his client, Lingam wished to be present in court and to give evidence.

He, however, explained to the court that Lingam was currently on medical leave until Nov 29, adding that his client was immobile and was not in the country.

“Then we have to fix a date for that (hearing of the contempt of court proceedings),” said Justice Suriyadi.

There were no objections from Lim, Sri Ram as well as lawyers Pavendeep Singh and Gurmit Singh representing the majority contributories of KJH, lawyer Datuk David Gurupatham for the minority contributories, and lawyer T. Gunaseelan who is representing A.S. Thisinayagam, also a lawyer, for the Attorney-General to take over the contempt of court proceedings.

Ooi and Ng had obtained leave from the Federal Court on April 3, 2012, to cite Lingam and 24 others for contempt of court for alleging that a Federal Court bench had plagiarised its judgment.

However, on June 17, this year, the liquidators decided to seek leave from the Federal Court to withdraw the contempt of court charges against the respondents, but they were instead directed by the apex court to provide sufficient grounds to support their application.

The Attorney-General subsequently filed a notice of motion on July 7 this year to take over the contempt of court proceedings. Under Order 52 of the Rules of Court 2012 for committal, anyone who has purged his contempt can be jailed, fined or get away after issuing an unreserved apology.

On Jan 5, 2012, the Federal Court’s three-man panel ruled in favour of the liquidators of KJH to proceed with the sale of 146.13 million of Kian Joo shares held by KJH to Can-One Bhd for RM241.12 million.

In 2009, the respondents filed an application at the High Court after Can-One won the tender to purchase the 32.9% stake in KJCF.

They, however, failed at the High Court to stop Can-One from acquiring the shares but the Court of Appeal reversed the decision and the case was brought to the Federal Court which ruled in favour of the liquidators.

The respondents subsequently filed an application, seeking to review the decision of the Federal Court’s previous panel claiming plagiarism in the Federal court’s 47-page judgment, but their application was dismissed by the Federal Court on May 22, 2013.

Bernama