PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has failed in his final appeal at the Federal Court to postpone his 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial scheduled for Aug 19.
The five-member bench led by Chief Justice (CJ) Datuk Seri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, in a unanimous decision, dismissed Najib's appeal here Tuesday (Aug 13).
“On whether the trial judge had exercised his discretion correctly under Section 259 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), we agree with the Court of Appeal that there is no error. There is no reason for us to intervene, ” she said.
Tengku Maimun said the court did not think it right or necessary for the Federal Court to impose directions on the trial judge on the way he conducted the trial, adding that parties in the case were at liberty to make the necessary application for directions before the High Court judge.
Meanwhile, the CJ struck out the prosecution's appeal to postpone Najib's 1MDB trial, also known as Tanore trial, after Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas informed the court that the prosecution was withdrawing its appeal as it served no practical purpose.
The other presiding judges were newly-appointed Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Seri David Wong Dak Wah, and Federal Court judges Datuk Rohana Yusuf and Tan Sri Idrus Harun.
Thomas also informed the court that the prosecution would be able to serve the witnesses statements on the defence in the 1MDB case this afternoon (Aug 13).
He said the 1MDB trial could only begin on Aug 28, that is, 14 days after the witnesses’ statements had been given to the defence as required under Section 402B of the CPC.
Earlier, the AG told the court that the prosecution was withdrawing its appeal to postpone the 1MDB trial date (Aug 19).
He updated the court that the prosecution was at the tail-end of its case against Najib in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial and confident of closing on the last date, Aug 16, allotted by High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
“Even if prosecution cannot close on Aug 16, the spillover the following week will only be for a few days, ” said Thomas.
He said the prosecution had no objection for High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah to commence the Tanore trial provided it was done after the prosecution had closed its case in the SRC trial.
Meanwhile, Najib’s counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah submitted that his client would not get a fair trial if the 1MDB and SRC cases were to proceed simultaneously.
He said Najib has the same defence team for the cases and parties would not be able to complete the SRC trial by Friday (Aug 16).
According to him, both the prosecution and defence would need about a month to prepare their submissions at the end of the prosecution's case for the SRC trial.
On Aug 5, the appellate court affirmed the High Court's decision that Najib's 1MDB trial for alleged corruption and money-laundering should proceed as scheduled on Aug 19.
The prosecution had applied at the High Court for the trial to be postponed pending disposal of Najib’s SRC International Sdn Bhd case.
Najib, 66, is facing four counts under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act and 21 counts of money laundering involving 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28bil.
The Pekan MP is alleged to have committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd, No 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon, between 2011 and 2014.
As for the ongoing SRC trial, Najib is facing seven charges, of which three are for criminal breach of trust, one for abuse of power and three for money laundering involving SRC funds totalling RM42mil. – Bernama