Najib wants to appoint Queen's Counsel as SRC appeal involves complex issues - lawyer

26 Jan 2022 12:11am
Najib (centre) arriving at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Jan 5. (Source: Bernama)
Najib (centre) arriving at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Jan 5. (Source: Bernama)
PUTRAJAYA - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s intention to appoint a Queen’s Counsel (QC) from the United Kingdom is because the QC has the experience and expertise to assist the former premier in complex issues and legal questions in his appeal to strike out his conviction and 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine for the SRC International Sdn Bhd case in the Federal Court.

This was disclosed in a six-page letter issued by Najib’s counsels, Shafee & Co. to the secretariat of Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat today.

In the copy of the letter made available to the media today, Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said, since the appeals involve complex issues and questions of law which are considered novel in Malaysia and the Commonwealth, the appellant (Najib) requires advice and expertise from an experienced QC who has dealt with such complex issues.

The QC’s appointment will be on an ad-hoc basis after obtaining admission from the Malaysian court.

Apart from that, he said they sought for the Federal Court not to set an early hearing date of his client’s appeal as they needed time to translate the voluminous amount of notes and court documents linked to the case from Bahasa Malaysia to English, to enable him and other senior counsels to effectively brief the QC about the appeal.

"Hence, the appellant requires time, after receiving the records of appeal, to supply the same to the QC in London,” said the counsel.

Muhammad Shafee added that parties have yet to receive the full records of appeal concerning the case and noted that there were already 121 volumes of documents from the High Court and the Court of Appeal, indicating that these might increase in the apex court.

"Since parties have not been provided with the full record of appeal, the appellant cannot prepare a complete Petition of Appeal as we have to go through the appeal records,” he said adding that, they would need an extension of time to file the petition of appeal.

"Therefore, we verily believe that fixing an early date to hear his appeal is greatly prejudicial to the appellant especially considering the fact that (it) is the final appeal. The appellant should be given ample time to prepare instead of being rushed into it. The appellant feels his appeal is being rushed for no good reason. Perception is very important to the image of the judiciary,” he added.
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In regards to Najib’s two appeals namely to adduce fresh evidence and the main appeal, the senior counsel said it was a necessity to have separate hearings with a significant time gap between the two processes.

"We respectfully seek Yang Amat Arif’s kind consideration for an appropriate allocation of time for both appeals. We gravely doubt any dates in April, May or June can be workable. However, the additional evidence appeal can be agreed on the current date that has been fixed,” he said.

Yesterday, the court fixed March 15 and 16 to hear Najib’s appeal to adduce new evidence. The court also set Jan 28 for next case management to determine the next step for the main appeal.

On Dec 7 last year, the Court of Appeal dismissed Najib’s application to adduce new evidence in his appeal by ruling that Najib had failed to cumulatively satisfy Section 61 of the Courts of Judicature Act that fresh evidence was required for justice in the case.

On the next day, the same court upheld the conviction and 12-year jail term and RM210 million fine on Najib for misappropriating RM42 million in SRC funds.

Justice Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who led a three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, dismissed Najib’s appeal against the KL High Court decision on July 28, 2020.

On the same day, Najib filed a notice of appeal to the Federal Court. - BERNAMA