Judge walks out as questions turn personal

“ATTACK” seemed to be the mode of the day at the Intellectual Property High Court here, against defence witnesses called to testify in the “tiger stripe” design case between the National Sports Council (NSC) and Mesuma Sports Sdn Bhd.

NSC lawyer Datuk Mohamed Bustaman Abdullah did not mince his words in cross-examining Olympic Council Malaysia (OCM) honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, even when the subject zoomed in on Sieh’s disabled daughter, making those present at the court, including judge Datuk Hanipah Farukillah, squirm in discomfort.

Mohamed Bustaman asked Sieh, the third defence witness, why his disabled daughter often travelled with him to foreign countries as a council board member when she was not one.

To this, Sieh, who maintained a calm composure, said that as a board member, he was entitled to bring a guest whenever he travelled overseas.

“I am a single parent and my daughter is handicapped. There is no one to take care of her and as such, she travels with me,” said Siah, 74.

He said he paid for her expenses, including her flight tickets.

Mohamed Bustaman then asked Sieh whether he knew pregnant shooter Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi, who came into the limelight recently when she wanted her husband Marhazli Mohtar to accompany her to the London Olympics instead of national rifle coach Saidov Isroil.

Sieh said he knew her and her request after reading reports in the newspapers.

Mohamed Bustaman linked Nur Suryani’s case to Sieh’s by asking him why Marhazli was not allowed to follow his wife overseas whereas Sieh’s daughter could do so.

Judge Datuk Hanipah Farukillah then asked Mohamed Bustaman to move on with other questions, but he persisted with it.

Out of the blue, Hanipah, who looked angry, walked out of the court room without uttering a word.

When the proceedings resumed five minutes later, Mohamed Bustaman apologised to both Hanipah and Sieh.

“Please use proper phrases when putting questions to the witness and try not to indicate that the government is the owner of the design,” Hanipah said.