Court Allows Najib to Call Expert to Verify Signatures

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court today allowed former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s application to call a handwriting expert to verify his signatures on several contentious documents tendered as evidence in the SRC International Bhd trial.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali also dismissed a motion to strike by prosecutors, who argued that Najib’s application is invalid as he was silent on the claim of forged signatures during the first half of the trial.

“Under the law, the accused in the defence can procure any evidence,” said Nazlan in the ruling this morning. “The court is still bound to consider evidence no matter how weak.”

Azlan Zamhari/Malaysiakini

Nazlan ruled that Najib’s application should be allowed in the interest of justice and a fair trial.

He said Najib was entitled to introduce relevant evidence even if it is based on an afterthought.

“It is the duty of this court to uphold the constitutional right of the accused at all times,” he said.

The handwriting expert that Najib’s legal team wants to call is Steven J Starch, an Australian.

The Pekan MP claims that his signature was forged on shareholders’ resolutions and meeting minutes, among others.

Nazlan said the court may determine the admissibility of the evidence at the end of the case.

The judge also ruled that the prosecution will be allowed to call a rebuttal witness as provided under Section 425 of the Criminal Procedure Code if they wish to do so.

Nazlan ordered the defence to arrange for the expert to examine the documents within two days before Feb 3.

Najib, 66, is facing seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million of SRC International money. The company is a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Ahmad Zamzahuri

He faces up to 20-years jail if convicted of the offences.