Federal Court judge Augustine Paul, who passed away yesterday, will be remembered by many Malaysians for his role in the Anwar trial during the reformasi era.
His frequent use of the word “irrelevant” during the Anwar corruption trial whenever Anwar’s defence counsel wanted to raise what they felt was pertinent evidence soon resulted in the word becoming something of a sarcastic buzz-word in Malaysia.
Paul’s meteoric rise through the judicial ranks, immediately before and after that trial, raised eyebrows.
One of his last major decisions was in the case of Kampung Buah Pala, where some 300 residents were facing eviction and the demolition of their ancestral village. On 24 June 2009, Federal Court judges Paul, Hashim Yusoff and Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff dashed the villagers’ hopes by unanimously rejecting their application for leave to appeal against a Court of Appeal decision that had overturned a landmark High Court verdict in their favour.