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Judge, Ye Not

Denpasar District Court Judge Dismissed by Supreme Court for Ethical Improprieties

(7/13/2012) A Judge sitting at the Denpasar District Court, Putu Suika (64), has been fired from his position on the bench after being proven to have attended a karaoke bar in the company of a party involved in an ongoing trial over which he presided.

As reported by Beritabali.com, the spokesman for the Denpasar District Court, Amzer Simanjuntak, explained that the case prompting Suika’s dismissal took place in 2010. 

A Supreme Court Assembly of Honor (Majelis Kerhormatan), on which 7 senior jurists sat, heard the case against Judge Putu Suika at the Supreme Court Building in Jakarta. After hearing the evidence, the tribunal issued orders “honorably” dismissing the jurist and ending Suika’s judicial career.

The judges determined that Putu Suika was proven to have received “karaoke facilities” from those involved in a case before him. The panel of judges also ruled that Suika was proven to have had been involved in forbidden communication with a party to a trial he was actively hearing.

Suika’s dismissal is the first instance of a sitting judge being fired while sitting on the bench of the Denpasar District Court.

Some elements in Denpasar are depicting the firing of Judge Putu Suika as unfair, making the jurist into an ornamental “black sheep” for the protection of his superior in the court.

One person disparaging the firing is lawyer Muhammad Rifan. Rifan, a prominent Bali lawyer who was the attorney for Jacque Roc who was once involved in a case heard by Suika. Rifan was the lawyer cited by the High Court judges as attending a karaoke bar with Suika in 2011.

“Judge Suika is only a black sheep, he is being victimized,” said Rifan, reacting to the decision that terminated the judge’s employment.

Rifan, who feels that his name has been dragged into the case, is seeking to make public clarification. According to the Bali lawyer and quoted by Beritabali.com, his client (Jacque Roc) made a formal report when he heard that his case being heard before Judge Suika was being interfered in by Jhon Pieter, the chief of the Denpasar District Court at that time.

“At the time, Judge Suika admitted that he was under pressure from the chief of the Denpasar District Court in a case he was adjudicating. Judge Suika was threatened (by Pieter) that we would not be given (new) cases. Upon hearing this, my client was outraged and made a formal report to the Supreme Court,” explained Rifan,

When the complaint was handled by the Supreme Court and the Judicial Commission, the substance of the report detailing the improper interference of the Chief of the Denpasar Court was largely ignored with the inquiry shifting instead to ethical improprieties committed by Judge Suija.

“Don’t bury a judge who is innocent only because he went to a karaoke bar,” said Rifan. While Rifan admits that he did coincidentally encounter the judge at a Karaoke bar where he picked up the Judge's tab, he said his actions were simply an act of “eastern courtesy” and did not represent an ethical violation.