KUALA LUMPUR: A British lawyer has applied to be admitted as a lawyer in Malaysia for him to appear as the lead counsel for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the Pekan MP's final appeal in the RM42mil SRC International Sdn Bhd case at the Federal Court.
A notice of originating motion filed at the High Court through Messrs Shafee & Co on Tuesday (May 31) named lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw as the applicant.
According to the document, Najib's appeal would involve serious, complex and novel issues to several branches of criminal and civil laws, practice and evidence, the Constitutional rights of the appellant (Najib), the conduct of proceedings by the prosecution, the adjudication of criminal cases by a trial court and the administration of the criminal justice system.
It said that Najib, as the appellant, had sought to engage the professional services of the applicant (Laidlaw) to act as lead counsel in the appeal.
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"For the purposes of the appeal, the applicant possesses special qualifications, experience and expertise which is not available amongst advocates and solicitors in Malaysia," it stated.
It further said that Laidlaw was eligible and qualified to be admitted and enrolled to practise as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya pursuant to Section 18(1) of the Legal Professions Act 1976 to appear as counsel for Najib in the appeal and all other causes or matters related to the appeal.
On Jan 25, Messrs Shafee & Co submitted a six-page letter to the secretariat of Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat on Najib’s intention to appoint a Queen's Counsel (QC) to assist Najib in complex issues and legal questions in his SRC appeal at the apex court.
The Queen’s Counsel appointment will be on an ad hoc basis after obtaining admission from the Malaysian court.
Najib's appeal will be heard in August as the Federal Court has fixed a 10-day hearing from Aug 15 to 19 and 22 to 26.
On April 25, Najib submitted 94 grounds in his petition of appeal on why he should be freed of the charges of misappropriating RM42mil in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.
Among the 94 grounds, Najib said the Court of Appeal erred in rejecting the defence’s contention that he does not have any personal interest in SRC, and that his interest in SRC is purely official or professional that arising from his position as advisor emeritus, finance minister and prime minister.
On July 28, 2020, Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali (now a Court of Appeal judge) convicted and sentenced Najib on seven charges involving criminal breach of trust (CBT), money laundering and abuse of position, involving SRC funds, totalling RM42mil.
He was sentenced to 12 years' jail and a fine of RM210mil.
On Dec 8, the Court of Appeal upheld Najib’s conviction, 12-year jail sentence and RM210mil fine for misappropriating RM42mil belonging to SRC International.