Any video recording of court proceedings can neither be uploaded onto any public medium nor shared.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court declined today to rule on an application by the prosecution in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial for a court order over the leak of a recording of the proceedings.
High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who is presiding over Najib’s RM42 million SRC International trial, said since a police report has been made, the court should not prejudge the matter as it was under police investigations.
“On the matter whether this issue constitutes contempt of court is not a matter for this court to decide either,” he said.
Nazlan also reminded the defence and prosecution that any video recording of court proceedings can neither be uploaded onto any public medium nor shared.
“Any form of recording is not permitted not only ‘live’ streaming and this includes the CRT (court recording transcript). The CRT is supplied on the express purpose of transcribing and not to upload.
“We expect that both the defence and prosecution who are officers of the court to abide by this. The public should not be making prejudicial comments as this may constitute as contempt of court,” he said.
Ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram had raised the matter and pointed out that CRT footage could only be obtained by signing an undertaking not to forward the copy to other parties, nor upload it onto any medium.
“The prosecution seeks direction on the uploading of the CRT on the trial proceeding without authorisation.
“Upon signing the undertaking, it is here that both prosecution and defence, upon receiving of the CRT cannot make copies.
“We pray for a court order barring third parties from uploading the CRT without permission,” he said during the sixth day of the trial.
However, Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah disagreed and argued it was the prosecution who initially objected to the defence’s application for a gag order on proceedings.
“If they had not objected, this issue would have been taken care of from the beginning,” he said.
Shafee said. for instance, the dissemination of recordings of court proceedings is normal practice in the United Kingdom and that copies of such videos could be accessed in the national archives.
Sithambaram, however, insisted that spreading the CRT was wrong and affected the court’s integrity.
Last Thursday (April 18), a video of Najib’s trial was uploaded on the Facebook page of his former special officer, Isham Jalil.
The video showed Shafee cross-examining two witnesses.
The two-minute and 12-second video titled ‘The fifth day of Datuk Seri Najib’s trial’ went viral on social media.
Sithambaran told the court earlier that the CRT is meant to help lawyers and deputy public prosecutors prepare their notes of proceedings.
He added that Malaysia has no laws allowing individuals to post court proceedings online.
However, Shafee said all trials in Malaysian courts are open to the public. “We do not have secret trials,” he added.
Police are reportedly probing the matter under Section 203A of the Penal Code for disclosure of information, as well as Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.
Related report: Apr 20, Najib’s Former Aide Uploads SRC Trial Video Recording on FB