However, there is a widespread nation-wide feeling that justice had not been fully done, and this was reflected in the judgement of Court of Appeal judge Datuk Shaik Daud Mohd Ismail, who described Rahim’s act “despicable and inhuman, to say the least”, “the worst act of indiscipline in a disciplined force”, “stooped to the lowest level” when he should be “a role model to the force”.
As Shaik Daud said, the Appeal Court which also comprised judges Datuk Mohd Saari Yusoff and Datuk K.V. Vohrah, found Rahim’s two- month jail sentence to be “lenient”.
Shaik Daud said in his judgement:
“On the facts and circumstances of this case, we think the sentence by the sessions judge is on the lenient side.Shaik Daud and the Court of Appeal did not know why the Attorney-General as Public Prosecutor had not cross-appealed against Rahim’s sentence to ask for a more commensurate and longer custodial sentence, but the Malaysian public have a right to ask and to get an answer to this question.
“For reasons best known to him which we cannot comprehend, the public prosecutor chose not to appeal on sentence to this court.
“It is, however, not the practice of the Appellate Court to impose its own sentence on that of the trial court.
“We would, however, like to take this opportunity to remind the lower courts that they should take the case of police officers assaulting members of the public very seriously.
“Be he of whatever rank, if found guilty of assaulting a member of the public, more so an arrested person as in this case, the court should send a message of the public abhorrence of such act by coming down hard on him.
“Nothing short of a custodial sentence would suffice.”
This is because apart from the court of law, there is the higher court of public opinion which must be satisfied if there is going to be public confidence in the fairness of the administration of justice.
For this reason, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who is directly responsible for the Attorney-General’s Chambers, should explain in Parliament tomorrow why the Public Prosecutor had not cross-appealed against the lenient sentence meted out to former IGP Rahim Noor.
Although the then Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah has now retired and elevated as Federal Court judge, the principle of accountability to Parliament and the nation still applies - especially as the Head of the Prosecution Division is still the same legal officer, Dato’ Abdul Gani Patail.
If the Prime Minister cannot give a satisfactory and acceptable explanation for the failure of the Attorney-General’s Chambers to appeal on the sentence of Rahim to the Court of Appeal, the least the government should do is to ask for the resignation of Gani as Head of the Prosecution Division for a gross dereliction of duty in an important case of great public interest.