PUTRAJAYA: There was a real danger of impartiality concerning the presiding judge of the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, says the defence of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
This was said by the Pekan MP's lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik (pic) in his submission in the motion to adduce new evidence in the appeal at the Federal Court here on Monday (Aug 15).
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In the written submission, the defence also stated that as a long-term employee of Maybank, the previous conduct of Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali (previously a High Court judge and currently a Court of Appeal judge) may also give ground for a reasonable person to believe that he cannot act with an objective mind.
The additional evidence Najib seeks to adduce relates to the "discovery" that Justice Mohd Nazlan was the general counsel and company secretary for Maybank Group.
Citing a serious conflict of interest, the defence contended that the investigating authorities had suppressed or failed to disclose the materials which would have enabled Najib to raise the objection based on the trial judge's conflict of interest at an earlier stage of the proceedings.
The defence also argued in its written submission that the hearing of the appeal proper should be deferred until such a time that the investigation into Justice Mohd Nazlan's role is completed.
Hisyam also contended that all ingredients necessary for the admission of fresh evidence had been satisfied.
Earlier, Chief Justice Tengku Tun Maimun allowed the defence's application to amend Najib's notice of motion to adduce new evidence before proceeding to hear the motion.
Najib had filed in a notice of motion dated June 7 to the court seeking permission to adduce additional evidence and another notice of motion dated July 15 to amend the original notice of motion.
Lead prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram is expected to reply to the defence's submission later after the lunch break.
The court session will resume at 2pm.