PUTRAJAYA: Former Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam (pic) has failed to set aside his one-month jail sentence for intimidating a witness in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial involving Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
This follows a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel, chaired by Justice Kamaludin Md Said, that dismissed Lokman's bid at the Court of Appeal here on Wednesday (Oct 26).
Other judges on the panel were Justice Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali, who read the decision, and Justice Nordin Hassan.
They found that the appellant indeed had the intention to lodge a police report and make a media statement.
"We find there is no error with the decision by the High Court. There was clearly an intention to disrupt the administration of justice (by the contemnor)," Justice Che Mohd Ruzima said.
Lokman had appealed against a July 15, 2021 High Court decision that convicted and sentenced him for contempt of court in intimidating Najib’s former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, a key witness in the RM2.28bil 1MDB trial.
The appellate court also dismissed a cross appeal by the prosecution which sought to increase Lokman's jail sentence from one month to at least three months.
"A sentence passed by the High Court should not be easily 'touched' at the appellate level unless there is proof that the sentence is excessive.
"There are no reasonable grounds for us to correct the sentence. We unanimously find the sentence by the High Court judge as appropriate and reasonable.
"We dismiss both appeals (by the prosecution and the appellant) on the sentence," Justice Che Mohd Ruzima said.
Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who represented Lokman, asked the court for a stay on the order of committal and sentence pending an appeal at the Federal Court.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar said the prosecution did not object to a stay.
The court then allowed a stay pending an appeal.
On July 15 last year, Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah, the presiding judge in the 1MDB trial, sentenced Lokman to one month's jail for contempt of court.
The contempt proceedings were brought against Lokman by the then attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas in 2019, for intimidating Amhari, whereby the prosecution successfully obtained leave to initiate committal proceedings.
In the application, the AG sought an order for Lokman to be committed to prison or fined for his actions over contempt of court perpetrated on two occasions on Sept 25, 2019.
The AG said that Lokman had uttered words in a video interview that constituted an express or implied threat against Amhari for having given evidence against the accused in the criminal trial against the former prime minister at the High Court.
He said on the same day, Lokman lodged a police report against Amhari in respect of the evidence given by him at Najib's ongoing criminal trial.
The object or purpose of the respondent's said actions was to harass and intimidate Amhari, other witnesses and any potential witnesses who may come forward to give evidence against the accused in the trial, said the AG.