The Kuala Lumpur High Court today sentenced former Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam to a month’s jail after finding him guilty of contempt of court for intimidating a witness in former prime minister Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial.
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah in his judgment said Lokman had committed contempt by threatening Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, Najib’s former special officer and the eighth prosecution witness.
“I find that the act by the respondent of lodging a police report and making media statements amounted to a threat against PW8 (Amhari) and other potential witnesses in the trial.
“This court finds the respondent guilty of contempt of court,” Sequerah said, adding that the jail term was effective today.
However, he allowed Lokman a stay of execution for his jail term pending the disposal of his appeal, with a bond sum of RM3,000 and one surety.
Sequerah added that Lokman had no business determining whether Amhari was telling the truth or not when he was giving evidence.
“Lokman had bad intentions (mala fide) when he lodged a police report and later issued a press statement as Amhari was still giving evidence. There was no ambiguity in the contempt charge framed against Lokman,” he said.
Earlier, counsel 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’,” Shafee said.
However, deputy public prosecutor 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.
Shafee also asked for a stay of execution of the jail sentence pending Lokman’s appeal to the Court of Appeal but deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustafa P Kunyalam objected, saying the respondent had no special circumstances to be allowed a stay.
On Oct 22, 2019, Sequerah granted leave to then attorney-general (AG) Tommy Thomas to initiate committal proceedings against Lokman for contempt of court over acts perpetrated on two occasions on Sept 25, 2019.
On Jan 14, 2020, 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 initiated the committal proceeding against Lokman to seek an order for Lokman to be committed to prison or fined for his actions.
According to Thomas, on Sept 25, 2019, Lokman had uttered words in a video interview that constituted an express or implied threat against Amhari 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 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, other witnesses and any potential witnesses who may come forward to give evidence against Najib in the 1MDB trial, said Thomas.