Bid to recuse Tengku Maimun and attempt to adjourn hearing to tomorrow.
- Application to recuse Tengku Maimun filed late last night
- Shafee to assist Hisyam with submissions
- Shafee’s application to adjourn hearing to tomorrow rejected
9.00am: Mostly clad in black, supporters of Najib gather outside the court, chanting “Hidup Bossku” and “Allahuakbar:. Some women are in tears as they are overcome by emotion.
The group, which started arriving as early as 7am, is believed to have been ferried via 10 buses from all across the peninsula.
9.20am: Clad in a dark suit, Najib arrives with his entourage accompanied by blue police light flares and sirens.
The crowd goes wild, crowding around Najib’s car to show their support.
Najib waves at the crowd before entering the building.
9.25am: Najib is seen sitting in the public gallery of the apex court, reading some documents while waiting for proceedings to begin.
Najib’s son and daughter, Mohd Nizar Najib and Nurliyana, arrive in the courtroom.
Najib is seen chatting with Nizar.
9.40am: Najib enters the dock as the apex court hearing of his appeal resumes.
9.44am: Chief Justice Tengku Maimun asks Najib’s lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik if he has anything to submit.
Hisyam replies no.
He says his client filed an application late last night for the recusal of Tengku Maimun.
“The application has been processed and been given a (case) number,” he said.
9.45am: Prosecutor Sithambaram says he is concerned as the prosecution has not received a sealed copy of the submission.
He says until the copy is served, proceedings for recusal cannot be heard.
10am: Sithambaram says the High Court and the Court of Appeal have already decided on the case, and that there is enough material before the Federal Court for it to make a decision.
10.12am: Tengku Maimun tells Hisyam his client faces jail time if he refuses to submit his closing submission.
Hisyam says he is unable to make a proper submission given the time.
Tengku Maimun tells Hisyam he is repeating himself.
10.17am: Court stands down. “We will wait for the application on recusal,” the Chief Justice said.
According to copies of Najib’s affidavit in support of the recusal bid, he claims that on Aug 17, he found out about a Facebook posting by Tengku Maimun’s husband, Zamani Ibrahim.
He alleges that the FB post – dated May 11, 2018 – had among others expressed happiness at him being ‘dethroned’ following the 14th general election that year.
Najib contends that this development shows a risk of bias on the top judge’s part.
11.08am: Court resumes.
Hisyam asks court for a 10-minute break to wait for Najib’s former lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to arrive.
Hadn’t the lawyer been discharged by his client, asks Tengku Maimun.
Hisyam says Shafee is to return as co-counsel to aid in closing submissions.
Tengku Maimun tells Hisyam to proceed while waiting for Shafee.
11.15 am: Hisyam is reading the supporting affidavit filed by Najib in the application.
He said previously, two other judges – Justice Mohd Sofian Abd Razak and Justice Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh – have both recused themselves from hearing Najib’s case due to their brothers’ involvements in Umno.
11.19am: Shafee has arrived and is addressing the court.
11.24am: Shafee is asking for an adjournment until tomorrow as he said that he came here unprepared and without any documents.
“I have no material before me,” he said.
CJ: So, you only come here to ask for adjournment?
Shafee: For tomorrow only.
11.27am: Sithambaram objects to the bid by lawyer Shafee to postpone the hearing to tomorrow.
The prosecutor contends that “the manner this case had gone on, including this (recusal) application, is mala fide (of bad faith) and with intent to delay the case”.
11.32am: CJ rejects application to adjourn the matter to tomorrow.
“We find no reason to adjourn this matter,” she said.
Hisyam says he is ready to proceed but Shafee will return tomorrow morning to do his part of the submission.
The CJ says it is entirely up to Shafee if he wants to come tomorrow.
“If we proceed today and everything is concluded today, there is no need for tomorrow.
“Nobody needs to be here tomorrow,” she adds.
Hisyam continues with his submission on the recusal application.
11.35am: Shafee leaves the courtroom.
12.05pm: Hisyam has finished his submission and requests for the court to allow Shafee to come tomorrow morning “to supplement” his submission.
12.09pm: Sithambaram stands up to reply to Hisyam’s submission.
Sithambaram questions why Najib’S legal team did not raise the issue of the alleged bias of Tengku Maimun earlier.
The prosecutor points out that the whole recusal application against the top judge was done in bad faith (mala fide) as the Facebook posting by her husband was made in 2018.
The DPP, however, notes that Najib’s lawyers only filed the recusal application late last night.
“These two grounds (behind the recusal bid), they could have done it four years ago or a few months back over Your Honour’s husband.
“This application is mala fide and done deliberately to scuttle progress of this case (main SRC appeal),” Sithambaram contends.
He says “this is what criminal lawyers do best”, insinuating at the defence’s attempt to delay.
12.39am: Hisyam invites lawyer Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin to supplement his submission.
As Firoz, who had earlier sat at the public gallery, walks into the bar area, Sithambaram stood up to object.
“This is a court of law. This is not a circus, where people walk in and out to take part,” Sithambaram said.
12.40pm: Firoz informs the court that he would need to take instructions from his client during lunch time.
The panel does not allow his request.
“Court stands down to deliberate on the motion to recuse,” the CJ says.