SHAH ALAM: Ahmad Najib Aris, the accused in the Canny Ong rape and murder trial, has opted to remain silent at the start of the defence case.
Ahmad Najib’s decision yesterday to keep mum instead of defending himself on the two charges, one of which carries the mandatory death sentence, shocked the High Court.
In normal circumstances where the accused opts to remain silent, the court is left with no choice but to convict the person.
Ahmad Najib’s counsel, Haniff Khatri Abdulla, however, urged the court to re-evaluate the evidence and submissions before convicting him.
On Aug 6, the High Court ordered Ahmad Najib to enter his defence after ruling that the prosecution had made out a prima facie case against him.
He has had three options – to testify under oath, make a statement from the dock or remain silent.
“Just as we have informed the court by a letter on Sept 28, we are now reiterating our client’s instruction, that he has chosen to remain silent at this stage.
“What is left now is for the court to either re-evaluate the evidence and submissions advanced in the prosecution’s case before deciding on whether he should be convicted or convict the man straight away,” said Haniff yesterday.
Ahmad Najib is the first accused in the history of the country’s high profile cases to opt for such a move.
The whole courtroom was reduced to pin-drop silence when Haniff made the announcement at 9.15am.
Ahmad Najib, in a chequered long sleeve shirt and a pair of worn out black pants, sat calmly in the dock.
Justice Muhamad Ideres Rapiee fixed Oct 29 for the parties to argue on the options available to the court.