Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Gov't to withdraw AES summons?

Recent developments may point to a mass withdrawal of traffic summonses issued using the Automated Enforcement System (AES) with cases being withdrawn from proceedings in at least two courts since yesterday.
"This actually happened from yesterday but our lawyers were not able to attend yesterday's cases," related anti-postal summons group Kase legal adviser Zulhazmi Shariff.
"But today I was told that at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court, (Road Transport Department, RTD) officers collected the AES summonses from the respondents and told them to go home. Their cases were not heard in court."
He also related how two cases he handled today as well as eight more due for hearing tomorrow and on Friday have been postponed for one month by the DPPs  concerned due to 'incomplete documentation'.
When he broached the subject of the withdrawn summonses and postponed cases with the DPPs handling these cases in the Kuala Lumpur courts, Zulhazmi ( right ) said that they were tightlipped and would only say that they had "technical problems".
Zulhazmi also said a respondent whose case was to be heard at the Putrajaya court today, had said that all respondents were given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal when the DPP withdrew the case after the charge was read out in court.
He believes that the withdrawals may be connected to legal objections to the prosecution of AES cases.
On Dec 10, the PAS legal team had argued that RTD officers do not have prosecutorial powers under the Road Transport Act and can only prosecute cases with written permission by the Attorney-General for each case handled.
Zulhazmi claimed that after this objection was recorded in four courts, RTD officers stopped prosecuting AES cases, handing these to DPPs from the Attorney-General's Chambers instead.

'Burden on respondents'
Kase chairperson and PAS veep Mahfuz Omar, who was at the press conference, said the sudden withdrawal of cases by the government is causing "undue difficulties" to both respondents and their lawyers who have to show up.
"They should have announced it beforehand and continued to withdraw the cases without need for the respondents to be present," he said.
He argued that the respondents now face loss of leave. They will also incur travel and meal expenses, as well as legal costs.
Mahfuz (left) posited that the withdrawals only reinforce Kase's argument that enforcement of the AES has been problematic from Day One and that it is based on unsound legal ground.
Asked to respond to a report today in news portal The Malaysian Insider - which quoted a Putrajaya insider as saying that the government is mulling a freeze on AES implementation to avoid overlapping with police speed traps - Mahfuz quipped: "I told you so. I had mentioned this in Parliament before."
He, however, welcomed any such freeze as further vindication of Kase's assertions against the traffic enforcement system.
In light of the "technical problems" and withdrawal of the cases, Mahfuz called on the government to cancel all 256,899 summonses issued and return the money collected in fines to date.

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