Friday, January 21, 2022

Appeals court to go ahead with D-day proceeding despite delay bid by Najib’s lawyers

Najib Razak's bid to cite more evidence in his SRC appeal will continue as scheduled in a hybrid setting after one of his lawyers tests positive for Covid-19.

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The Court of Appeal’s hearing of Najib Razak’s bid to cite more evidence in his SRC International appeal will continue as scheduled today despite a request by the former prime minister’s legal team for a delay after one of his lawyers tested positive for Covid-19.

According to Utusan Online, Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah requested late last night that today’s proceeding be postponed along with the court’s decision tomorrow on Najib’s appeal in the case.

A court official however said today that the proceeding would continue, with the three judges and the prosecution team in the court and the lawyers to participate through Zoom from their homes.

Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil who led the three-man bench told Najib’s lawyer Harvinder Singh Sidhu that there were two possible options.

“We cancel the bail and he (Najib) will be issued a warrant of arrest immediately and be brought to the court today (Tuesday) itself.

“The second choice – we direct that this is heard online, and this is the court direction. We don’t need consent by parties; we go online. This is more than safe. We have had cases online when people were in the US, France and Japan. This is in Malaysia. We have online facilities. We have this application for fresh evidence. When you make an application, you should have the facilities to prove them,” he said in a report by The Edge.

He was joined on the bench by Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.

Najib had applied to allow new evidence to be adduced in his appeal against his 12-year jail sentence and fine of RM210 million for misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds.

The hearing was set a day before the Court of Appeal was due to deliver its verdict.

But Shafee said in a letter to the court last night that one of the lawyers had tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a celebration with his family and friends last Saturday.

“In addition, our client was present at the office to check and attest to the affidavit filed yesterday,” he was quoted as saying in the Utusan report.

“Therefore the MySejahtera status of everyone involved has changed, whether to close contact or casual contact, and everyone is waiting for an appropriate time to take an RT PCR test.”

Najib was convicted in July last year of seven counts of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power involving RM42 million in SRC International funds.

He was allowed a stay of execution pending his appeal.

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