A great loss for our nation.
The respected and well-known Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram parted away at the age of 79 on Sunday (Jan 29). The former Federal Court judge had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday (Jan 18) for a lung infection.
One of the prominent pioneers in the law firm, he was called to the Malaysian Bar in May 1970 and practised law until his elevation to the Court of Appeal in September 1994. He was deemed the first practitioner in Malaysia to be elevated directly to an appellate court.
He was helming the role of an Appeal Court judge for 15 years before being heightened to the Federal Court and was well known for his judgements on public interest cases. In 2010, he retired from the judiciary and returned to practice thereafter.
Sri Ram was also an Honorary Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn.
At the time of his passing, he was leading the prosecution as senior deputy public prosecutor in the ongoing 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-Tanore trial involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. He was still the lead prosecutor for the RM1.25bil solar hybrid project corruption case involving Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor when he passed away.
The defence in both cases have tried to remove him many times from leading the prosecution teams but failed.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has offered his condolences to the family of former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram.
Through his Twitter, he expressed, “Condolences to the family of the late Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram on his passing. May his family affairs be made easier, and the family stay strong and resilient in the face of this sad news.”
Takziah kepada keluarga mendiang Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram atas pemergian mendiang. Semoga urusan keluarga dipermudah dan keluarga kuat serta cekal berdepan khabar duka ini. https://t.co/GeyUX98zy2
— Anwar Ibrahim (@anwaribrahim) January 29, 2023
Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu, the criminal lawyer had also offered his condolences.
“He was a great lawyer and judge. Needless to say his amazing dedication and conviction to legal jurisprudence. At times very combative, such is his nature. May God bless his soul,” he said.
A senior member of the legal fraternity says Sri Ram was a national treasure who was a pioneer in interpreting the Federal Constitution.
Former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas said he was devastated by the loss of his friend who had contributed much to the Malaysian legal scholarship and administration of justice.
“Sri Ram had a world-class brain; he was as cerebral as any in the common law world. Incredibly articulate in speech, and eloquent in prose. He was a national treasure. No one post-Merdeka has contributed more to legal scholarship and the administration of justice.” he noted.
“First, as Malaysia’s pre-eminent barrister who was awarded to become the first direct appointment to the newly established Court of Appeal in 1994. Secondly, as one of our greatest judges, whose judgments adorn our law reports in so many diverse branches of the law. Finally, as Malaysia’s greatest prosecutor, in leading our most difficult prosecutions in the 1MDB scandals.” Thomas said.
“He was my friend, and I am devastated by his loss. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he conveyed.
“Your contribution to the nation will be remembered for a long time.”
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