Rosmah's second attempt to recuse judge is an abuse of court process - Sri Ram

02 Mar 2022 05:31pm
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex. - BERNAMA
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex. - BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - The prosecution in Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s money laundering and tax evasion trial contended that her second bid to recuse Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from presiding over the case is an abuse of court process.

Former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who is the lead prosecutor in the case, said as Justice Mohamed Zaini had dismissed a similar application (to have him removed as the trial judge) previously, it was only a repeated attempt to achieve what had already failed last year.

"Messrs Geethan Ram submitted for the earlier recusal application and presently the same relief is filed by a different firm, which means next time we will be seeing the same application by another firm.

"It is an abuse of the court process because Your Lordship had already handed down the ruling on the same application in December last year. This application is a non-starter,” said Sri Ram.

This is the second time the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has filed the application after Judge Mohamed Zaini, who is also the same judge in Rosmah’s solar hybrid case trial, had rejected Rosmah's application last Dec 14 to recuse him from hearing the trial.

In delivering his judgment on that date, Justice Mohamed Zaini said he took great care to ensure that Rosmah would not be prejudiced in the money laundering case when references were made to the statements in the solar case because a judge was required to consider separately and independently the evidence against the accused.

"Any findings that I make in the solar case remains there. It is after all my solemn duty or of any judge, to ensure that the accused or any accused for that matter, is tried fairly as enshrined under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution,” he said.

Rosmah’s counsel Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin responded to the prosecution’s argument by insisting that the current application could not be said to have abused the court process as it stood on different grounds (risk of bias).

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He said that Justice Mohamed Zaini’s role in several criminal cases connected to Rosmah’s family including Najib might cause the judge to not be able to carry his judicial function without having pre-judged the issues, therefore posing a real danger of bias to his client.

"It is pertinent to acknowledge and accept that ‘human frailty’ is an important factor to be considered even when it comes to those who are trained to be independent and fair-minded, because a judge is a human after all,” he added.

Firoz also said that Justice Mohamed Zaini’s involvement in multiple cases involving Rosmah might expose her to miscarriage of justice and as a result, might diminish public confidence in the judiciary and the administration of justice.

Justice Mohamed Zaini then fixed March 21 for the decision.

Rosmah, 70, is facing 12 money laundering charges involving RM7,097,750 and five counts of failure to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).

The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank Berhad, Bangunan Getah Asli branch, Jalan Ampang, here, between Dec 4, 2013 and June 8, 2017, and at LHDN at Kompleks Bangunan Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, here, between May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2018. - BERNAMA