Guan Eng corruption trial adjourned as witness unwell

KUALA LUMPUR: The cross-examination of a key witness in Lim Guan Eng's corruption trial involving the Penang undersea tunnel project had to be adjourned after he felt unwell following a round of questioning.

During the cross-examination by Lim’s counsel Gobind Singh Deo on Tuesday (Aug 9), Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli - who had recently recovered from stage one pancreatic cancer - asked to be excused.

"Your Honour, I really need to be excused. I really am not well. The doctor yesterday also told me to see a specialist," he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin had earlier informed the court that his witness was not feeling well and yet he "made" him turn up in court.

When asked by Gobind, Zarul Ahmad said he was asked to come to court despite feeling unwell.

Judge Azura Alwi then intervened and asked Zarul Ahmad what the doctor told him the night before when he went to seek medical consultation.

"My pressure was up, my heart was palpitating, and he asked me to see a specialist."

Zarul Ahmad also said that he had an appointment with a doctor but he had not made the time to see him.

The court then stood down for 15 minutes after Wan Shaharuddin requested time for his client.

When trial resumed, Gobind then asked Zarul Ahmad if he could proceed with the cross-examination, to which he replied; "Can I take a break today? I really don't feel well."

Azura then decided that the proceeding would resume on Wednesday (Aug 10).

Earlier, Wan Shaharuddin told the court that the copy of the WhatsApp message exchange between Gnanaraja and Zarul Ahmad from May 2017 to January 2018 had been shredded as the investigation paper into the case had been marked as “kemas untuk simpan” or “arrange for storage”.

The court was earlier told that the phone that contained the message exchange could no longer be switched on after several years in storage.

However, Gobind rebuked and claimed that there was "suppression of evidence", adding that it was incorrect that the printouts were shredded and untraceable, as one "cannot shred electronic evidence."

He insisted the prosecution produce a reprinted copy of the message exchange in primary evidence, or the recorded version of the messages in writing in the witness statement as secondary evidence.

DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib argued that the request had no relevance, as both witnesses in the message exchange could still be called to the stand, and that the printout was not part of the prosecution record.

"This is redundant, irrelevant and baseless," he said, adding that it should be rejected.

Gobind then said the defence was only asking for the full version of the evidence for better context instead of just parts of it, and it was not something that was never presented in court before.

Judge Azura Alwi then decided that a date would be set for the mobile phone to be brought to the court to be "verified".

"We will see if the messages can be retrieved or not. If there is any application from then on, I will deal with it later,” she said.

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