PUTRAJAYA: All suspects must have lawyers present in court during remand proceedings from Wednesday onwards, following a practice direction by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.
The practice direction – a circular for judges and lawyers to abide by – also noted that investigating officers must ensure suspects have appointed lawyers.
The lawyers must also be informed earlier to be present for the proceedings.
"As for suspects not represented by lawyers or are unable to appoint one, they will be informed by the magistrate of their rights to obtain legal aid service from the National Legal Aid Foundation if the suspect is a Malaysian citizen and not investigated under any preventive, kidnapping or abduction laws," she said in the Chief Justice's Practice Direction No. 11 2021 on remand proceedings under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code, dated Sept 10.
Tengku Maimun said the new directives will take effect on Sept 15, revoking previous directives issued in 2003 and 2012.
She also noted remand proceedings must be postponed to a reasonable time on the same day to allow lawyers representing the suspect to attend proceedings.
However, Tengku Maimun said the remand hearing will proceed if suspects do not wish to be represented or their lawyers fail to turn up within the reasonable time period given.
She said before remand proceedings are heard before the magistrate, the investigating officer must ensure the remand application has been filed through the e-Kehakiman system, including a copy of the investigation diary, and to also ensure that the suspect is present for the proceedings.
Tengku Maimun said during remand proceedings, suspects must also be asked about their health.
"If the magistrate finds the suspect needs medical treatment, the investigation officer must ensure the suspect is taken to hospital for examination and appropriate treatment," she added.
Tengku Maimun said if there is no magistrate available, remand order applications involving crimes punishable by death, or 14 years' imprisonment and above, high profile suspects, cases of public interest and cases under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 must be handled by an ex officio magistrate.
"An ex officio magistrate can be a Sessions Court Judge, High Court deputy registrar and senior assistant registrar (for remand applications in Peninsular Malaysia), senior assistant registrar of the Subordinate Courts or any other official listed under the Fourth Schedule of the Subordinate Courts Act 1948," she said.
Tengku Maimun said remand proceedings should be conducted in court or at any detention centre that has been gazetted for remand purposes on a daily basis including weekends and public holidays. – Bernama
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