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Prosecution in Zahid graft trial objects to 'irrelevant' part of witness statement

It says the portion of the statement will damage the character of his former executive secretary Major Mazlina [email protected], who is a key prosecution witness.

Bernama
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Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama
Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama

The prosecution in Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's corruption trial related to Yayasan Akalbudi today objected to a part of the witness statement by his former press secretary, arguing that it was irrelevant and inadmissible.  

Deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran said part of the statement by Major General (R) Fadzlette Othman Merican Idris Merican, the second defence witness, would damage the character of Zahid’s former executive secretary Major Mazlina [email protected]

"Section 153 of the Evidence Act 1950 should be applied in order to ensure that evidence with regards to credibility which has been raised before cannot be raised again because Major Mazlina’s credibility has already been challenged during the defence’s cross-examination. 

"(Otherwise) there will be no end to collateral issues," she said.

Fadzlette was scheduled to testify at the trial today. She was press secretary to Zahid when he was deputy prime minister, and is now the media director for the Umno president.

Raja Rozela said judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah had the power to control how much evidence is introduced through witness statements, as long as the statements are relevant to the main issues in the trial.
 
"... this witness is here today to read out (the statement). It is definitely, in my humble submission, merely a collateral, secondary issue, a secondary fact which has no bearing whatsoever on the facts in issue.

"With that, the statement in Paragraphs 16 to 30, whether it applies to or makes reference to Major Mazlina, must be ruled as inadmissible on grounds of it being collateral evidence," she said.

The lead prosecutor raised the objection as it was found that Fadzlette’s witness statement contained attacks on Mazlina’s character as a key prosecution witness.

Meanwhile, Zahid's lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik requested for time to reply to the prosecution’s objection.

"Fadzlette’s witness statement was given to the prosecution within the 14-day deadline before she took the stand. There was no advance objection from them," he said.
 
Raja Rozela then said the prosecution was not required to give notice about their objection as this was a basic evidential rule.

Sequerah adjourned the proceedings to tomorrow for the defence to make its submission.

"I think under the circumstances, we will give the defence time to research. So, I will hear the submissions in reply tomorrow morning," the judge said.

On Aug 30, Zahid completed giving evidence to defend himself after 17 days on the witness stand.

Zahid, 69, faces 47 charges: 12 of criminal breach of trust, eight of corruption and 27 of money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.