DPP: Najib’s lawyers’ stubborn insistence for an adjournment of SRC appeal was a wrong strategy

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The prosecution has contended that Najib Abdul Razak’s counsel was complacent in the Federal Court appeal of his RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption case.

In an affidavit filed on Tuesday (Oct 11) in response to Najib’s motion for review of the apex court decision, deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Mohamad Ashrof Adrin Kamarul claimed Najib’s lawyers expected they would be entitled to an adjournment.

Reuters

This was despite Najib’s counsel, Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew (Zist) and Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, being informed on several occasions about the apex court’s decision not to allow adjournment of the trial dates, he said.

The DPP further alleged that Najib’s counsels were “obstinate” in insisting they needed more time and that pushing for an adjournment was a “strategy gone wrong”.

“Evidently, Messrs Zist had prepared for the applicant’s main appeals for six to eight weeks and read some 30,000 pages of the Record of Appeal.

“However, Messrs Zist was overly confident that the application for additional or fresh evidence would succeed and an adjournment would be allowed thereafter. Messrs Zist deliberately chose to focus on the application for additional evidence instead of the appeals.

“I aver that Messrs Zist treated the whole appeals complacently and expected that the applicant would be entitled to an adjournment despite the clear instruction of the Federal Court that the main appeals would be proceeded with on scheduled dates,” he said.

Najib is currently serving his 12-year jail sentence, after the Federal Court bench headed by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat on Aug 23 denied his appeal to set aside the guilty verdict as well as sentencing.

Then, on Sept 6, the incumbent Pekan MP filed a review application through his former lawyers from Shafee & Co to secure a fresh apex court bench to rehear his SRC appeal.

He contended that the apex court’s refusal to grant an adjournment to his lawyer Teh to prepare for the SRC International appeal was unconstitutional.

Ashrof denied Najib’s claims as he said the former prime minister should have factored in the trial dates before appointing new counsel.

The incumbent MP is also appealing against the apex court’s decision to dismiss his interlocutory applications.

One is Najib’s application to recuse trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali from the SRC International case and nullify the whole trial.

Second is his bid to adjourn the apex court hearing of his appeal to allow his legal team to prepare for the case and, thirdly, his application to recuse Tengku Maimun from the appeal.

Najib’s legal team led by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has also declared that the former prime minister still sought King’s Counsel Jonathan Laidlaw to represent him if he is allowed a rehearing of his appeal.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court previously denied Laidlaw’s bid to be allowed to represent Najib on July 21. The British citizen has since appealed to the Federal Court.

Ashrof asserted today that Najib did not request an adjournment before appointing Zist as his new counsel on Jul 26. – Malaysiakini