Court cancels arrest warrant for ex-intel chief

Former intelligence chief Hasanah Abdul Hamid.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today cancelled the warrant of arrest for former intelligence chief Hasanah Abdul Hamid over her failure to turn up in court last week.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah made the order after hearing her lawyers’ explanation of her absence from the case mention for her RM50 million criminal breach of trust case on Friday.

“The warrant is cancelled in light of her unreserved apology to the court,” he said.

He also ordered the former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation chief and one of her bailors to attend court on the upcoming court dates.

Hasanah’s lawyer Shahrudin Ali earlier told the court that her absence was unintentional.

“She was at home at the time, and as her counsels, we overlooked the date and forgot to inform her,” he said.

He also maintained that Hasanah’s presence is not needed at case managements as they are not considered part of the trial, adding that there was no legal basis to issue an arrest warrant.

Hasanah’s other lawyer, K Balaguru, said there is no offence of “non-attendance to court” under the law.

However, deputy public prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad said the law requires an accused person to be present in court.

“Section 172 B of the Criminal Procedure Code makes it mandatory for an accused to be present in court for case management,” he said.

“I leave it to the court to decide on the warrant.”

Hasanah is accused of misappropriating RM50 million in government funds. If found guilty, she faces a fine and a jail term of between two and 20 years.

She previously posted bail of RM500,000 ahead of her trial which begins on Feb 3 next year.