Judge slams administrative slip-up

GEORGE TOWN - A High Court judge was incredulous and aghast over the absence of a foreign interpreter during a murder case here following a slip-up by the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya. He says he was being treated like a tong sampah (rubbish bin).

Justice Zamani Abdul Rahim was disgusted with the officials in the Federal administrative capital who did not inform his court that a Cambodian interpreter he had requested for was not going to be present for the trial.

When deputy public prosecutor Siti Fatimah Talib informed him of this, Justice Zamani ordered his staff to get to the bottom of what had happened.

It then came to light that court officials at the Palace of Justice knew the officer would not be available, but still did not inform Penang.

"I don't blame the prosecution for this. I don't blame the defence. I blame the (Putrajaya) court," the judge burst out.

"Look at the efficiency of this (Penang) court. How we took the trouble to find out what happened. And nobody had the courtesy to let this court know there would be no interpreter present."

Engineer Cheong Teik Keon, 32, is charged with murdering clerk Tan Ching Chin, 24, at her home in Taman Hwa Seng in Alma, Bukit Mertajam, at about 8.40am on Feb 14 last year.

Siti Fatimah said that when hearing continued today, she would proceed with the testimony of the victim's Cambodian maid, who was due to return to her home country soon.