Federal Court upholds Najib’s conviction, sentence

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Timeline of this afternoon’s events in Najib’s final SRC appeal.

1.20pm: Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor is seen entering the Palace of Justice.

2.39pm: Rosmah walks into the courtroom. She joins her children Norashman and Nooryana Najwa who are sitting on the last bench at the public gallery.

The prosecution team and Najib’s lawyers are seen sitting down in the apex court, waiting for proceedings to resume.

They are waiting for the Federal Court to return with its decision on Najib’s application to recuse Tengku Maimun from hearing his appeal in the SRC case.

3pm: Speaking to supporters outside the Palace of Justice, Najib laments the possibility of being convicted

“I have worked really hard, but it seems that my bids to the court have been rejected. So, I have lost this case, I did not get justice. I didn’t get a lawyer in adequate time to prepare.

“The first time, I requested for a postponement but it was rejected. In my case, regardless of what I’ve asked for, it was not allowed.

“Now we wait for a decision, if it’s a bad one, I apologise. I have worked really hard, what’s important is our struggle.”

3.20pm: Najib enters the dock as the Federal Court reconvenes to deliver its verdict on Najib’s bid to recuse Tengku Maimun from hearing his main SRC appeal.

3.27pm: Najib fails to recuse Tengku Maimun.

The top judge rules that there is no nexus between her husband’s 2018 Facebook post and that of the former finance minister’s appeal.

She notes that the Facebook post was put up before Najib was ever charged at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Najib seeks permission to speak to the panel. He is now reading from a paper and addressing the panel.

He speaks about the failure to get adjournment and mistreatment by the court.

“I feel a fair trial is not accorded to me.

“I plead that no offence is taken for what I’ve said and it’s simply coming from my heart. That’s how I really feel as an appellant at the final stage of the case.”

He reiterates that he feels unrepresented due to the apex court’s denial of his bid to adjourn the hearing for three to four months.

Najib claims that his right to a fair trial and the rule of law seem illusory, and that “at no point was I afforded the opportunity to explain myself, nor was I asked about the circumstances.”

He adds that the additional time is needed to prepare for such a major criminal appeal.

3.36pm: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi enters the Palace of Justice. He took the staircase next to the entrance far from the media.

3.46pm: As he addresses the apex court, Najib reiterates that he needs more time for his lawyers to represent him in the SRC appeal.

“This, I must repeat, leaves me with no counsel and I don’t know what to do. If given time of at least two months, I am confident I can assemble a team to adequately represent me – perhaps with a combination of my previous counsel and (defence counsel) Hisyam Teh Poh Teik in a consolidated team.

“In that proposed combination, perhaps Hisyam can be brought up to speed by Shafee & Co to be able to understand the case within two months.

“Yang Amat Arif, on Monday, Hisyam said a hearing is like a contest. But right now, it seems like I’m put out of the contest, a contest that affects my liberty. I feel this is not cricket at all as there is total unfairness executed on me,” Najib claims in his plea for more time.

3.51pm: Najib reiterates his objection on Tengku Maimun from hearing his SRC appeal.

“I say this with the greatest of respect and I take no pleasure in raising this but over the past week, there have been numerous reports of sentiments against me placed in the public domain by Yang Amat Arif’s husband Zamani Ibrahim.

“In a particular Facebook posting dated May 11, 2018, two days after the 14th general election, Zamani Ibrahim has expressed his views that clearly show his distaste and disgust towards me and that I am directly responsible for the 1MDB and SRC debacles.

“That includes my culpability that is the subject matter of this appeal.

“The recent disclosure raises a serious question of Yang Amat Arif’s impartiality and judicious competency to hear this case. While I note the sentiments were raised by a spouse, it is not unreasonable to think that such sentiments are shared within the household, in a spousal relationship,” Najib claims.

3.54pm: Najib reiterates his claim that SRC trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali is at risk of bias against him.

“Curiously, this (apex) court has said that the evidence regarding judge Nazlan has no relation to the charges against me. This court is correct, they don’t.

“What the evidence does show, however, is judge Nazlan’s predisposition towards an adverse position against me in 1MDB that taints his judgement when deciding on the charges here.

Reuters

“He is potentially almost in a definite position to be a witness in the 1MDB case, and if he had known this matter earlier, he would have been called as a court witness at our instance in the SRC trial,” Najib claims.

3.57pm: Najib’s supporters are still gathered outside the Palace of Justice despite the downpour.

4.05pm: Najib claims that the apex court had already prejudged him in the SRC appeal.

He claims this is because of an alleged leak of the full decision at the blog Malaysia Today.

“This is judicial misconduct of the highest order (if the leak is true),” Najib claims.

The former prime minister concludes his statement.

The Federal Court’s five-person bench begins to read out the panel’s verdict.

Najib’s supporters wait in anticipation in the rain outside the Palace of Justice.

4.15pm: Tengku Maimun rules there is no novel issue in Najib’s appeal in the SRC case as it involves the finding of facts and settled legal precedents.

She points out that Najib’s legal team was given every opportunity to orally submit on the main SRC appeal but they refused to do so.

4.22pm: The CJ is now touching on the merits of the main appeal. “We have examined them in great detail,” she says. “The court was of the opinion that the High Court was correct to call the appellant to enter his defence.”

4.26pm: The CJ says the defence is so inherently inconsistent that it failed to raise reasonable doubt.

She says the conviction is safe on all seven charges and that the sentence is not unanimously excessive.

“These appeals are therefore unanimously dismissed and the conviction and sentence are affirmed.

“I pronounce warrant of committal,” the CJ said before adjourning the proceedings.

The court is adjourned.

Najib is to serve his 12-year jail term today.


Earlier report:

Aug 23, Timeline of this morning’s events in Najib’s final SRC appeal