Court Rejects Najib’s Bid to Postpone SRC Trial’s Defence

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Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak failed in his application to postpone his SRC International Sdn Bhd’s defence trial scheduled to commence on Dec 3.

High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali dismissed the application and directed the trial to go on as fixed earlier.

The judge had previously fixed Dec 3 to 4, Dec 9 until 12, and Dec 16 to 19 for Najib to enter his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC funds.

Justice Mohd Nazlan said he had considered the background of the trial, its commencement and progress, key dates and directions which were given in advance.

“I find that more than ample notice and reasonable time have been given to the applicant (Najib) to prepare and to re-strategise the relevant arrangement. The request for adjournment in my view cannot be sustained. Accordingly, I dismiss the application and the trial will, therefore, resume on Dec 3,” he said.

The defence team had orally applied for a postponement as they needed more time to prepare for the defence case.

Earlier, the court also heard submissions by both parties on defence’s application to seek for a list of witnesses from the prosecution.

These were the witnesses that the prosecution had not offered to the defence but who had their statements recorded.

On this application, Justice Mohd Nazlan described it as a ‘fishing expedition’ where statements taken by the investigating officer under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act were privileged and not subjected to disclosure for inspection at any stage of the trial.

“I find that the test of desirability and necessity, in respect of the witnesses already offered to the defence is not satisfied because the applicant has not identified which witnesses’ statements he required and what were the roles of these witnesses and the relevance of the evidence.

“In this context, the application appears to be a fishing expedition,” he said and therefore dismissed the application.

At the outset, Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas submitted that according to the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978, barristers should not take cases if they were not free.

“There are 4000 to 5000 lawyers in this country. If the defence chose the same defence team, they must pay for the price. So, for those reasons my Lord, I object the adjournment and the trial should be resumed on Dec 3,” he said.

Senior counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is leading the defence team for all of Najib’s cases, while Harvinderjit Singh is the co-counsel.

Harvinderjit submitted that they needed more time to prepare the defence case as they would be busy with another of Najib’s trial before Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan which would begin this Monday.

On Nov 11, Justice Mohd Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence on all seven charges over SRC funds after ruling that the prosecution had proven a prima facie case against Najib.

Najib, 66, who is also Pekan Member of Parliament, was first brought to the Sessions Court here on July 4, 2018, to face three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and one count of abusing his position in connection with SRC funds totalling RM42 million.

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On Aug 8, he was charged again in the Sessions Court on three counts of money laundering involving the same amount of the same funds. The case was later transferred to the High Court.

He is alleged to have committed all the offences between Aug 17, 2011 and March 2, 2015.