Prosecution in 1MDB case warns Najib's defence team not to conduct trial by media

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial has raised its objections over a media statement issued by Datuk Seri Najib Razak's defence team that accused it of suppressing information.

Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram took the defence to task for issuing a public media statement yesterday afternoon outside of the courtroom.

He told Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah there was a "direct attack on the prosecution" when Najib's lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, held a press conference on behalf of the accused to say that the prosecution had failed to disclose or to deliver to the defence the particulars of five transactions which the defence claimed to have obtained through their own investigation.

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In the press conference on Monday, Muhammad Shafee also spoke of letters allegedly from Saudi prince to justify the incoming monies into Najib's personal bank account before inviting the media for a question and answer session.

"The accused cannot be conducting his trial by media.

"He must conduct his trial in court," Sri Ram said during the RM2.28bil 1MDB hearing here on Tuesday.

The prosecutor said such action must be stopped as the prosecution could not respond then.

"I cannot respond (in a press conference). It is not proper for me to respond in public.

"The letters which they relied upon were the same ones produced in the RM42mil SRC International Sdn Bhd case at the High Court's trial and rejected by trial judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, which was later also rejected by the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court," he said.

At this point, lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, who is part of the defence team, stood up to object.

"The media statement did not touch on anything on Justice Nazlan's findings in the other case (RM42mil SRC case)," he said.

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Sri Ram said the prosecution never suppressed any document.

"But I must warn my learned friend, they cannot do this. They cannot try this case by the media," he added.

Wan Aizuddin told the court that Muhammad Shafee, who did not attend the proceedings as he was indisposed, would respond to the prosecution's complaint tomorrow morning.

Justice Sequerah said the court would wait for Muhammad Shafee's reply.

Najib, 69, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.28bil from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The hearing continues this afternoon.

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