KUALA LUMPUR (July 31, 2007):
The sessions court also jailed him another three months for misleading the Legal Profession Qualifying Board in approving the results.
Judge Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal ordered both sentences to run concurrently from today, but later granted a stay of execution pending an appeal in the High Court. Khalid was on bail of RM20,000.
"I should make it clear that if not for the stirring mitigating circumstances, a substantive term of imprisonment would have been imposed," said Harmindar.
Khalid, when approached later, said: "I am not crying today because my tears have dried up."
He thanked his lawyers for conducting his case free of charge for the past six years. He also thanked his wife, children and "the very few remaining friends that are left" who have supported him throughout the trial.
During mitigation yesterday, counsel Jagjit Singh broke down when he pleaded that Khalid be spared a prison sentence. He described Khalid as "a good man, decent man".
In passing sentence, Harmindar said the plea for mercy must be balanced with public interest which is paramount.
"Although there are strong mitigating factors in your favour, I would be failing in my duty to conscience and to the public if any punishment is less than severe a custodial sentence is imposed. The punishment must be such as to record society's disapproval of your conduct in this case that anything less may amount to a farce of the law and justice.
He said he could not accept Khalid's mitigation that he had acted in good faith without mala fide, as the method he had used was unlawful.
" You knew very well that maintaining the pass percentage at 39% could not have possibly been your function.
"It was the function of the Qualifying Board. Even then, no Qualifying board, in order to safeguard its credibility and justification could impose such pass percentage even to deflect criticism that has been heaped upon it. As was the case here, your Qualifying Board in 2001 had to reconsider and recalculate all the marks that were upgraded by you," he said.
Harmindar said it was the duty of the board under the Legal Profession Act 1976 to determine who qualified to be admitted as advocates and solicitors and if this was done improperly, unqualified persons would be practising law.
"To my mind, any reasonable person in your shoes with even a quarter of your experience, qualifications and career that you have would know that the methods you employed in this case cannot possibly be right.
"How is it possible for a candidate who has achieved only 15 marks out of 100 be considered to have passed?"
Harmindar said Khalid had sought to blame others for his predicament.
"I think it is time for you to take responsibility for your own actions. To put it in crude terms, no one put a gun to your head when you were carrying out your functions."
"Your predecessor had alerted you to the pitfall that may befall you in the discharge of your duty. I think in the final analysis, a man with a distinguished career as yours should know and did in fact know that you had to act in a manner beyond reproach," he said.
Updated: 09:23PM Tue, 31 Jul 2007