04 August 2009
Prita Mulyasari -- Judicial Review of the Banten High Court...
I like OC Kaligis. He is a passionate about lawyering and he has contributed lots to Indonesia's ever-expanding mooting community, which is something I am passionate about as well. However, the desire to seek judicial review of the Banten High Court decision that orders the Tangerang District Court to retry the Prita Mulyasari defamation case is a case of barking up the wrong tree.
To be clear, I do not think that this case should have been heard in the first place, civil or criminal, however now that it has, it is an excellent test case and the team from OC Kaligis' law offices would be better to focus on the manner in which they could conceivably contribute to setting an Indonesian legal precedent. Yes, Indonesia is a civil law country and precedents do not play a big part, I have heard it all before. In a civil law country like Indonesia that is trying to forge a strong reliance on the rule of law means that a precedent like the one that is possible in this case would be a significant achievement, particularly for legal and legislation certainty.
The OC Kaligis team in pursuit of "justice" is going to lodge a brief at the Supreme Court to have the Banten High Court's decision judicially reviewed. A very basic and general analysis of Indonesian law would require that the Banten High Court decision include an error in application of the prevailing laws and regulations or there is new evidence that would render the verdict unsustainable if the court had had access to that evidence at the time the decision was made.
The decision of the Banten High Court appears to be on solid legal grounds. It does not appear to have erred in the application of prevailing laws and regulations with regards to the decision handed-down. Without having read the brief, it is hard to see what new evidence might have come to hand that would render the verdict unsustainable. Although, one of the lawyers from the Kaligis team suggested that he hoped the Banten High Court decision was not influenced by factors other than the prevailing facts in the case. So, maybe the infamous court mafia weaved its considerable magic?
Nevertheless, OC Kaligis is doing his job by seeking a judicial review. This is in the sense that a lawyer must explore every possible avenue that is available to their client in the pursuit of not only justice, but to prove their client's innocence. In any event, the Supreme Court has a history of interesting decisions that overturn lower court decisions. So, an appeal to the Supreme Court could be a winner for Kaligis and his team if the are holding the "right" ticket in the lottery.
I have always argued that the best possible outcome for Prita would be to prove that the defamation did not occur. Or, if it did that there are defenses available, specifically that what was contained into the letter to friends that found its way onto several mailing lists was factually correct. Simply, you cannot defame someone or an institution with the truth. The truth is as it is, truth!
You know there will be more on this as it comes to hand.