KUALA LUMPUR: Former UMNO Supreme Council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam (pix) was sentenced to a month’s jail by the High Court here today after finding him guilty of contempt of court for intimidating a witness in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial.
The witness is Najib’s former special officer, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who is a key witness in the case.
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah in his judgement said the respondent (Lokman) committed contempt by threatening Amhari Efendi, who is the 8th prosecution witness.
“I find the act by the respondent to lodge a police report and making media statements, amounted to a threat against PW8 (Amhari Efendi) and other potential witnesses in the trial.
“This court finds the respondent guilty of contempt of court and needs to serve his one-month jail term beginning today,” the judge said.
However, justice Sequerah allowed a stay of execution of Lokman’s jailing pending disposal of the latter’s appeal with a bond sum of RM3,000 in one surety.
Justice Sequerah further said that Lokman had no business determining whether Amhari Efendi was telling the truth or otherwise when he was giving evidence.
“Lokman had bad intentions (mala fide) when he lodged a police report and later for issuing a press statement as Amhari Efendi was still giving evidence. There was no ambiguity in the contempt charge framed against Lokman,“ he said.
Earlier, counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who represented Lokman, said his client was a first time offender and there was no occurrence of physical contact in this case.
“The witness had never complained that he was being threatened and he never ran to the prosecution saying that ‘I feel threatened’,” the counsel said.
However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram contended that the respondent had shown no remorse.
“Lokman did not stop at merely lodging a (police) report but went on to repeat the contents to the media. He should be given a custodial sentence for aggravating the situation. The court had imposed imprisonment in a range of four to six months in all previous contempt of court cases.
“Your decision will be an umbrella to witnesses who have yet to come. Lokman was a strong supporter of Najib, once a powerful personality,” he said, adding that Lokman was not an uneducated person.
Muhammad Shafee also asked for a stay of execution of the jail sentence pending his appeal to the Court of Appeal but Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamad Mustafa P Kunyalam objected, stating that the respondent did not have any special circumstances to be allowed a stay.
On Oct 22, 2019, Justice Sequerah granted leave to the then Attorney-General (AG), Tan Sri Tommy Thomas to initiate committal proceedings against Lokman for contempt of court act perpetrated on two occasions on Sept 25, 2019.
On Jan 14, 2020, Justice Sequerah rejected Lokman’s application to set aside the leave obtained by the AG. Lokman also lost his two appeals in the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court to overturn the High Court’s ruling.
Thomas had initiated the committal proceeding against Lokman to seek an order for Lokman to be committed to prison or be fined for his action.
According to Thomas, on Sept 25, 2019, Lokman had uttered words in a video interview that constituted an express or implied threat against Amhari Efendi for having given evidence in the former prime minister’s trial at the High Court.
Thomas said that on the same day, Lokman lodged a police report against Amhari Efendi in respect of the evidence given by him at the trial.
The objective or purpose of the respondent’s act was to harass and intimidate Amhari Efendi, other witnesses and any potential witnesses who may come forward to give evidence against Najib in the 1MDB trial, said Thomas. – Bernama