Saturday, January 14, 2012

‘Green courts’ to protect the environment

Saturday January 14, 2012 MYT 5:34:00 PM

PUTRAJAYA: A man who stole 11 cans of Tiger beer and Guinness stout was jailed for five years. And another man who had illegal possession of a dead tiger got away with a RM7,000 fine.

“Clearly our values are misplaced. Surely, our tigers are worth more than the 11 cans of Tiger beer,” Chief Justice Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria said when opening the 2012 Legal Year and Conference of Judges here Saturday.

To end this problem, specialised “environmental courts” may soon be introduced in the country to handle cases involving environmental crime.

Arifin said there should be an end to the lack of sensitivity to such crimes.

He said the judiciary would provide more training to its judges and officers on environmental law.

He also issued a stern reminder to members of the judiciary not to abuse their position and to avoid exposure to corrupt practices.

Judges and officers, he said, should continue to maintain the dignity and integrity of their office.

“We should at all times conduct ourselves in a manner befitting our position in society.

“Always bear in mind that your conduct, be it in private or in your official capacity, is subject to public scrutiny.

“In conducting a trial, do it with decorum,” he said.

Arifin also urged lawyers to stop making wild and baseless accusations against judges.

“This is because your words are taken seriously by the public. Such allegations may undermine the integrity of the judiciary,” he said.

He also announced that from this month, all criminal and civil appeals in the Federal Court would be heard by a five-man quorum, aimed at improving the quality of judgments and decisions.

At the same function, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said the Peaceful Assembly Act was meant to encourage freedom of expression.

He said there had been consultation with the various stakeholders including the Bar Council before the Act was passed.

“However, in consulting with the stakeholders, we are still governed by the Official Secrets Act. The bottom line is that there can never be a perfect' legislation.

“It can only ever hope to be a right' legislation to meet the exigencies of the relevant time.”

No comments: