Protections for vulnerable accused in Malaysian criminal trials: Are they sufficient? Proposal for reform
This dissertation argues that the protections for vulnerable accused in Malaysian criminal trials are not sufficient. It is crucial to ensure that vulnerable accused receive proper treatment when dealing with the court. After thoroughly scrutinising the law and practice in several other jurisdictions, this dissertation proposes several amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act 1950 to provide clear guidelines as to how to deal with vulnerable accused in a criminal trial. It is ultimately recommended that the right to give an unsworn statement be modified so that it is more effective and fair in its operation. This dissertation further recommends the introduction of an adverse inference clause for the right to remain silent at trial so accused person can better understand the effect of their choice. Recommendations are also made to introduce an intermediary service for those vulnerable accused who choose to give sworn evidence in court, and to allow a support person to accompany a vulnerable accused during trial. These amendments aim to assist vulnerable accused persons physically and emotionally, and to protect their fair trial rights.