Accused denies making up accusations against Najib, providing false testimony in court.
Former prime minister Najib Razak has to rely on his media statements to convince the public that he did not offer an accused money to plead guilty to the murder of Kevin Morais.
Lawyer Salim Bashir said this was the only option available as all other legal remedies were closed to Najib.
“He can make statements through traditional and social media to deny the accusation, but it is for the public to believe him or not,” he told FMT.
Salim was responding to Najib’s allegation that the accused, S Ravi Chandaran, had committed perjury by claiming that he was offered RM3.5 million allegedly by Najib through an unnamed prison officer.
Ravi, 47, is the sixth defence witness in the murder trial of Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Anthony Kevin Morais.
Salim said Najib could not file a defamation suit against Ravi as the statement was made in the course of a criminal trial.
“The accused enjoys absolute immunity from any lawsuit since the statement was made in a court proceeding,” he said.
However, he said the prosecution could opt to impeach Ravi for giving a statement contrary to what he would have told the police during investigations.
“It is open to the prosecution to do that or concentrate on securing a conviction in the murder of Morais,” he said.
In a statement on Oct 4, Najib denied Ravi’s allegation, calling it “completely and utterly untrue”.
“This is a most damning statement, to say the least, and does not do any justice to the late Morais nor to me.
“It is most unkind for Ravi to perjure in that way, attempting to take advantage of the current situation I am in and to further unfairly hurt my reputation,” he said, adding that he wondered if “someone” had put him up to it.
Najib also called on the police to investigate Ravi’s claim.
He said the accused should be asked to disclose the name of the prison warden so that police could check on Ravi’s claim.
“If Ravi cannot support his claim, I urge the authorities to charge Ravi for perjury.
“I am made to understand that neither the prosecution nor any of the defence counsel in the murder case believed Ravi’s bizarre allegations.”
Ravi has denied that the testimony he had given during the defence proceedings in the High Court were lies.
He disagreed that he was in a “desperate situation” by dragging Najib into the case.
Ravi said this during cross-examination by DPP Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin on the 25th day of the defence proceedings on Friday.
During cross-examination by Wan Shaharuddin, Ravi agreed that the earliest chance he had to tell the real story was on Sept 15, 2015, when he was arrested, but he, however, did not mention a lot of things.
Ravi disagreed when Wan Shaharuddin said he did not mention a lot of things because the things he said in court were lies and made-up stories.
“You are now desperate to drag just about anyone with you (into the case), for you’re actually the mastermind, along with Colonel Dr R Kunaseegaran in the murder of Kevin Morais, so much so you were willing to implicate lawyers N Sivananthan and Geethan (Ram Vincent),” said Wan Shaharuddin.
The two lawyers are appearing for Kunaseegaran.
Ravi disagreed with the DPP’s suggestion and also that the four other accused R Dinishwaran, AK Thinesh Kumar, M Vishwanath and S Nimalan were the henchmen of Kunaseegaran and himself.
In a previous proceeding, Ravi admitted that he had lodged a police report claiming that Najib had offered him RM3.5 million through prison officials to plead guilty to killing Kevin Morais.
In the police report, he also claimed that Kevin Morais’s brother, Datuk Richard Morais had offered him RM2 million for the same purpose, while in court during his testimony, he said Kunaseegaran had offered RM1.5 million to plead guilty.