PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Razak once again failed in his attempt to obtain a gag order to prevent the media and public from discussing the merits of his case and to get additional documents to prepare for his defence.
The 66-year-old former prime minister also lost his appeal questioning the procedure taken by the Attorney-General to have his case transferred from the Sessions Court to the High Court for trial.
The Federal Court seven-man Bench led by Chief Justice Richard Malanjum unanimously dismissed all three appeals.
The panel also overturned the Court of Appeal’s ruling that the prosecution needed to show the appointment letter of ad hoc prosecutor Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah to the defence.
In delivering the court’s decision on Najib’s appeal for additional documents, Justice Idrus Harun, one of the judges on the panel, said the Parliament had passed Section 51 of the Criminal Procedure Code to regulate the documents to be supplied to the defence before trial and this had been complied with by the prosecution.
He said Najib was not entitled to any further documents at this stage, adding that if Najib’s demand was allowed, it would be tantamount to the entire investigation papers being delivered to him.
The other judges sitting on the panel are Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Zaharah Ibrahim, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice David Wong Dak Wah, Federal Court judges Justices Ramly Ali, Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Nallini Pathmanathan.
The Court of Appeal, in March this year, dismissed the three appeals.
Najib is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering over SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, amounting to RM42mil.
His trial commenced on April 3 and a witness has testified so far.
The trial will resume on April 15 until May 10.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has rescheduled Najib’s appeal against a High Court’s dismissal of his application to disqualify former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in his 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) cases to April 23.
A three-member panel comprising Justices Zabariah Mohd Yusof, Rhodzariah Bujang and Lau Bee Lan allowed the request by Najib’s counsel, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, for the hearing to be postponed.
The prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib, did not object to the request for an adjournment and he also informed the court that they would be filing a preliminary objection against Najib’s appeal to disqualify Sri Ram as prosecutor.
On March 1 this year, High Court Judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah dismissed Najib’s application to disqualify Sri Ram, who has been appointed senior deputy public prosecutor.
He found there was no evidence to show that Sri Ram would be biased in handling the case.
Justice Sequerah also held that Najib had no right to demand Sri Ram’s letter of appointment.
He also dismissed Najib’s application to temporarily suspend the trial, which is scheduled to commence on May 14, pending disposal of his appeal to disqualify Sri Ram.
On Sept 20, 2018, Najib was charged with four counts under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act and 21 counts for money laundering involving 1MDB funds, amounting to RM2.28bil.
He was charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon between 2011 and 2014. —Bernama