Appeals court to deliver verdict Thursday in Najib’s four appeals

18 Mar 2019 / 14:11 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal will deliver its verdict on Thursday in four appeals brought by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pix) over his interlocutory applications pertaining to his SRC International Sdn Bhd charges.

Justice Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof, leading a three-member panel, agreed to defer the decision to Thursday after the defence and the prosecution completed their submissions today. The other two judges were Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang and Datuk Lau Bee Lan.

One of Najib’s appeals was related to the High Court decision to allow Attorney-General Tommy Thomas’ application to withdraw his certificate to transfer Najib’s seven charges relating to the SRC International funds, from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

The three other appeals were over the High Court dismissal of his bid for a gag order to prohibit the media and public from discussing the merits of his criminal case, his application for discovery of documents and statements, and his challenge of lawyer Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah’s appointment as lead prosecutor in his criminal charges pertaining to SRC International.

The hearing of Najib’s appeals resumed on the fourth day today with Attorney-General Tommy Thomas’ submission. Najib’s lawyers Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Harvinderjit Singh replied to Thomas’ submission.

Earlier, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas submitted that the defence suggestion for the High Court decision in allowing the Attorney-General to withdraw his transfer certificate to be set aside and for the matter to be re-heard before a different judge, was solely to delay the trial.

He said the appellate court has all the facts and law before it to decide on the validity of the withdrawal of the transfer certificate and subsequent transfer of the case to the High Court, without having to remit the case to another High Court.

“This appeal does not warrant a rehearing at the High Court but a rehearing in the Court of Appeal which is in a good position to decide on the merits of the case,“ he said.

Thomas also argued that the High Court judge, Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, had the jurisdiction to transfer the case to himself since he heard preliminary matters and case-managed it with the trial dates already fixed before him.

He said that once the certificate is withdrawn, the case will be reverted to the Sessions Court where the case was originally registered.

“It is ludicrous to suggest that the appellant (Najib) should be physically present in the Sessions Court before the High Court judge could act suo motu (on its own motion) under Section 417 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC),“ he said.

During the appeals hearing, a police officer had to wake Najib after he was seen dozing off when his counsel Harvinderjit Singh was submitting.

The police officer, who was sitting on the right side of the courtroom, walked over to Najib and touched the former premier on a shoulder and was seen uttering some words.

Najib, who was sitting in front of the accused dock, was seen nodding to the police officer and he (Najib) remained awake throughout the rest of the proceedings.

The 66-year old Pekan MP is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust and one charge of abusing his position over SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million.

He was also charged with three counts of money laundering involving the same amount of money. — Bernama

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