Former Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam has been sentenced to a month’s jail by the Kuala Lumpur High Court after finding him guilty of contempt for intimidating a prosecution witness in former prime minister Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial.
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said he imposed a custodial sentence on the former Umno supreme member after taking into account the circumstances of the case and having heard mitigating and aggravating factors by counsel.
He said Lokman committed contempt in relation to the eighth prosecution witness in the 1MDB case, namely Najib’s former special officer Amhari Effendi Nazaruddin.
“I find the act of the respondent, accompanied with intent, to make the media statement and police report, amounted to a threat against the witness and other potential witnesses in the trial, giving rise to risk on the due administration of justice and amounted to contempt of court,” Sequerah ruled.
He said the one-month jail term began today, but allowed a stay of execution, pending an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Lokman had threatened Amhari while he was in midst of giving evidence in the trial in 2019.
Lokman’s defence lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed said the High Court judge found that there was contempt by way of threatening the witness, which interfered with the administration of justice.
“He found that his action of lodging the police report, its contents, the press conference that he had after had the effect of threatening Datuk Amhari who was the witness in the 1MDB trial and future witnesses. Datuk Lokman’s acts were said to have a real risk of impeding the administration of justice,” Wan Aizuddin was quoted as saying.
Mustaffa said the judge had found Lokman’s act of lodging a police report against Amhari as amounting to intimidation against Amhari and future witnesses in the trial and that victimisation of witnesses is serious contempt of court.
Previously, 1MDB trial lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram — who was also acting for the prosecution in the contempt case against Lokman — said Lokman could not rely on the right to freedom of speech as such a right does not include threatening prosecution witnesses.
Sri Ram had also argued that Lokman’s September 2019 remarks asking for Najib’s 1MDB trial to be dismissed and halted amounted to asking the court to prejudge the case without hearing the full evidence and was an interference of the administration of justice.