09 October 2010

Prita Mulyasari and "That" Defamation Judgment...

There is one thing you can say about Indonesia, justice is a slow process through the courts. On the other hand, unchecked vigilante justice ensures the swift conclusion to almost any dispute! However, that old adage, which I am sure is too cliche now, "justice prevails", has proven true yet again.

Unfortunately, Prita Mulyasari had to wait a long time for justice to be recognised. Good for her, but one must not forget the very many Indonesians whose cases do not attract the same amount of public attention; they continue to languish in the system and without any light to be seen at the end of their nightmarish legal tunnels.

For Prita, her case should never have gone to the courts in the first place. It should not have gone to the courts for the simple reason that there was no case to answer, either criminal or civil. The case does highlight how over-zealous prosecutors can get it wrong, particularly when the ominous specter of case brokers and court mafia appear. That, and perhaps, a suggestion that the "victim" figured any up front case facilitation fees they might have to pay to get this thing off and running would be recouped several times over in any judgment that was awarded to them

The civil suit saw damages awarded to Omni International Hospital to the tune of IDR 204 million. The international here does not seem to relate to the level of service they provide, but more to the scale ..., nah, pet's not go there, I would not want to get sued for defamation or anything!

So, the Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom decided to toss the civil judgment against Prita. Tossing the case means the fine is expunged along with any need to make a public apology in a local rag in Jakarta. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court's decision to toss the civil suit ends only the civil action. The reality is that there is still a pending criminal appeal on which the Supreme Court is to decide (at least as I understand it). Prita's lawyers are bandying around the idea that it is unlikely the Supreme Court will toss the civil case and affirm the criminal case.

On face value, I would agree. But, it is the Supreme Court of Indonesia, the last bastion in many cases of hard-to-explain decisions. Let's face it, the last 48 hours has seen them reignite the KPK war by issuing a ruling that says the case against Bibit and Chandra must continue. It is fair to say the last 48 hours has been a real mixed bag at the Supreme Court.

Once the Supreme Court hands down the decision on the criminal appeal I might be able to close this sorry saga in a blogging sense.


H. Nizam said...

Hi Rob,
Although the criminal case is still pending at MA, however I am glad with this civil case verdict.

Rob Baiton said...

@ Harry...

For me it is not really a glad or otherwise thing. The 'case' should never have been in the court system to start with.