Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Court upholds decision to set aside RM5,000 fine for Shafee

The Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal's decision to set aside the RM5,000 fine imposed on Umno lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah for allegedly breaching publicity rules, Bernama reported today. The Court of Appeal had ruled on July 23 last year that Shafee did not violate publicity rules under the Legal Profession Act when he was interviewed by a daily six years ago. A three man bench chaired by Datuk Tengku Maimon Tuan Mat, who allowed the lawyer's appeal, had also ordered that the RM5,000 fine imposed by the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board be returned. Shafee had been interviewed by The Star newspaper in an article published on September 27, 2009, and the article was said to be "laudatory" of him. In 2010, then Bar Council chairman Ragunath Kesavan reported the matter to the advocates and solicitors disciplinary board following the article's publication. The board fined Shafee RM5,000 on October 5, 2012 for the misconduct. On January 10, 2014, High Court judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof said she found it unnecessary to "disturb" the findings of the board which concluded that Shafee was guilty of professional misconduct. "I have read the article. I agree with the words 'top lawyer with high-profile firm' were all the reporter's words and not of the applicant (Shafee). "I also agree with the respondent (Bar Council) that the article contained laudatory remarks and statements about the applicant (Shafee) and his firm, which were beyond the scope or approved information allowed by the Publicity Rules 2001," she said. She said what mattered was the opinion of the board as provided for by Rule 15(1)(b). "I don't think the court should interfere with the decision of the board and hence, I dismiss the appeal." – March 9, 2016.]]>

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