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Shafee files defamation suit against Bar

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 (Bernama) -- Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has filed a defamation suit against the Bar Council and three other individuals.

It concerns the motion that was to be discussed at the council's Annual General Meeting (AGM), in respect of his conduct as deputy public prosecutor (DPP) in Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy appeal.

Muhammad Shafee filed the suit in the Civil High Court on March 12, through Messrs Shafee & Co. The media obtained the writ of summons today.

The court has set April 14 for case management. In his statement of claim, Muhammad Shafee named lawyer Tommy Thomas, former Appeals Court judge Tan Sri V. C. George, the Bar Council and Christopher Leong - who was then president of the Bar Council - as the first to fourth defendants.

He claimed that on Feb 28, Thomas, who was seconded by George had published and submitted a motion for discussion by the AGM on March 14, relating to his conduct as DPP in Anwar's sodomy appeal in the Federal Court.

The lawyer said the Bar Council and Leong on March 9 had published the motion on the website of the Malaysian Bar titled, 'Agenda and Motions for the 69th Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar' that could be accessed by all members of the board.

The motion, among other things, concerned the behavior of Muhammad Shafee as chief public prosecutor, who staged roadshows relating to Anwar's sodomy case.

Muhammad Shafee claimed that following the release of the motion, the defendants maliciously defamed him to destroy his reputation and legal career.

He said the publication of the proposal, among other things, took to mean that he was an unethical and dishonest lawyer who did not have integrity, was repugnant and obnoxious, and had tarnished the legal profession.

It also meant he was not independent, was politically motivated, and an agent to the political party UMNO, was hired to get a conviction against Anwar and had a habit to publicise himself as a leading prosecutor.

In his statement of claim, Muhammad Shafee, among other things sought a declaration that the motion was mala fide because the purpose of the proposal was simply to embarrass him and that the AGM was not a proper forum to hear the motion.

The lawyer also sought a declaration that the motion was ultra vires because it lacked necessary details and important basic facts about the plaintiff's alleged misconduct, as well as general damages, and other costs.

He also sought an interim injunction to restrain the defendants, or through their agents, to table the motion at the AGM and a permanent injunction barring the defendants from allowing the motion to be discussed in future AGMs.


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