KUALA LUMPUR, 30 March 2009: The Sessions Court judge had erred in law when sentencing former Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP) examination director Khalid Yusoff to three months’ jail for cheating and falsifying the results of the CLP July 2001 examination.
Khalid’s counsel Akbardin Abdul Kader told the High Court that the trial judge had misdirected himself by convicting his client — even though he (trial judge) agreed the appellant (Khalid) did not obtain any financial gain from his act.
He said “moderation process” was an accepted practice at most local higher institutions of learning and Khalid carried out the moderation process on the marks collectively, with two other examiners, and not unilaterally.
Akbardin added that the review committee headed by Khalid and two other examiners carried out moderation on the marks where raw results of the July 2001 CLP examination had indicated that only 11% candidates had passed.
After the review process, the passing rate increased to 25%.
“Review on the marks were carried out to ensure that the passing rates are at reasonable and accepted level after taking into consideration the various criteria of the candidates, whether there were repeaters, marginal failures or overall marking standards…” explained Akbardin.
He stressed that the review committee headed by Khalid carried out the moderation on the marks since 1994.
Akbardin was making his submission at the appeal against Khalid’s conviction. Khalid was found guilty of tampering the results of 2001 CLP examination for pecuniary gain.
Khalid, 57, was also convicted of deceiving the CLP Qualifying Board into believing that the examination’s master list contained marks awarded by examiners and inducing the board to approve the list.
Both offences were committed at the board’s office at Menara Tun Razak in Jalan Raja Laut between August and 13 Sept 2001.
He said the witness statement of former attorney-general Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah who was the CLP Qualifying board chairperson at the material time, had very clearly absolved the accused of any wrongdoing.
Akbardin quoted Mohtar’s statement: “The review and moderation of the examination result falls within the professional duty of the accused and he is expected to use his professional judgement and discretion, and the Qualifying Board will not interfere in his professional duties.”
Akbardin concluded that the appeal should be allowed on the grounds that the judge erred in law where he had agreed with prosecution that moderation was accepted practice and legal.
Meanwhile, Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran argued that the appellant was charged, not only because he failed to comply with the marking scheme but had tampered the marks with the intention to commit fraud.
She said Kahlid’s action had resulted in unqualified persons being accepted to practise law.
She said Khalid’s main role was to assist the Qualifying Board to conduct the examination and he was never given a “blank cheque” on how to conduct it.
Raja Rozela said during initial stage an inquiry by the board over allegation of tampering of marks and leakage of CLP examination papers in Sept 2001, Khalid had failed to come up with proper explanations.
Judicial Commissioner Zainal Azman Abdul Aziz fixed 20 April to allow Raja Rozela to continue her submission. — Bernama