ANALYSIS. What does it mean when The NSTP & the Gang of Four had to amend their Statement of Claims barely one month after they had sued Rocky for defamation?

One: Their lawyers at Shearn Delamore had cocked up in the original claims, and Rocky’s lawyers had called a spade a spade by telling the High Court that their claims were FATALLY DEFICIENT.

Two: The NSTP & the Gang of Four had to resort to avoidance of Rocky’s strike-out application as a desperate line of defence. The amendment of claims is self-admission of the frailty of their case, and Shearn Delamore is not confident of passing the first entrapment it had ambushed unto itself — the fishing expedition.

Should the suit get struck out based on technical ground allowed by the law, collateral damage for Shearn Delamore will be huge.

Why? Because this archaic legal firm will have to increase the insurance premium as not many insurance companies are there to undertake PI (public liability and professional indemnity) policy related to Shearn Delamore which has accumulated over 25 major lost cases in the last three years alone!

So, what will happen next?

Everybody who drink in lawyers’ pubs knows it. Shearn Delamore will play dirty.

This is evident in the bad manner the amended Statement of Claims was served on Rocky’s lawyers, Chooi & Co.

(CLICK HERE to download the amended Statement of Claims against Rocky; and CLICK HERE to compare with the original claims.)

For the record, Rocky applied on January 25 to have the defamation suit struck out on the basis that the claims by the plaintiffs were ‘fatally deficient‘.

This was reiterated on February 22 by Edmund Bon, Rocky’s lawyer, who said: “We had applied to have the suit struck out on the ground that the plaintiffs had not pleaded their defamation suit as clearly as they ought to under the law.”

Go to YouTube to hear Bon’s statement for yourself.

For the three solid weeks from January 26 to February 15, Shearn Delamore had to grind hard to come up with an amended Statement of Claims to respond to Rocky’s strike out application.

Last Friday (February 16), a day ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, Shearn Delamore finally served three volumes of the amended documents on Rocky’s solicitors, Chooi & Co.

That’s not the last of Shearn Delamore’s shoddy slip-shot. The fourth volume of documents, the Plaintiffs’ Reply to Affidavits, was only served on Chooi & Co. around 11.00am on February 22, which was exactly three-and-a-half hours before the hearing of Rocky’s strike out application was scheduled to begin at 2.30pm.

Go to Bernama to read Shearn Delamore’s slip-shot for yourself. Bernama has vividly recorded the bad service so unworthy of Shearn Delamore’s history-old stature in legal practice enshrined by its founders.

What option does Rocky have for now?

First, Rocky had to instruct his lawyers to look into the amended claim carefully and closely before he makes decision on the next course of action.

This is where the devils of Shearn Delamore and Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, the dominant plaintiff, lie.

They want to impress the Court that it was Rocky and his lawyers who caused the delay.

But High Court Judge Hishamuddin Yunus was convinced that Rocky should be given ample to prepare his case since Shearn Delamore has taken its own sweet time to serve the papers, the amended papers to salvage the original claims that it had de facto admitted as “fatally deficient”. The Judge agreed to adjourn the hearing to April 2.

Meanwhile, Rocky may decide his next course of action out of two possible options.

ONE: Continue with the application to have the suit struck out.

TWO: Withdraw the strike out application and proceed to the hearing proper in an open court.

Nevertheless, as in normal legal manoeuvre, Rocky can also have the benefit of convincing himself if it satisfies his very purposes and proceed with one or the other option.

April 2 will be a new high point for us to know Rocky’s strategy.

Rocky fully understands that he is facing The NSTP and the Gang of Four (deputy chairperson Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, chief executive officer Syed Faisal Albar, group editor-in-chief Hishamudin Aun and former group editor Brendan Pereira), who had also applied for an inter-parte injunction to require him to remove 48 articles from his weblog.

He also knows full well that The NSTP and Gang of Four had schemed to restrain him from further publishing articles blowing their covers by invoking the Defamation Act.

It’s YOU, our fellow Malaysian compatriots, to decide whether we should allow these cowards to get away with murder.

We will share with you, soon, how we should act together in an effective manner.

For now, you should know that Shearn Delamore and Kalimullah are now cracking. They have cocked up big time on the statement of claims to move their case forward.

We should fight to win on this.