Claiming 'grave injustice', Zaid Ibrahim says Justice Nazlan had no business hearing Najib's trial

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — Believing that the evidence is overwhelmingly backing Datuk Seri Najib Razak, solicitor Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has accused the court of bias in not allowing the defence team to bring new evidence for his appeal process.

Fresh from being discharged by Najib from his duties this morning, Zaid said Justice Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had no business being the presiding judge in Najib's trial, alleging the latter of "being compromised".

"It is beyond belief that the highest court in the land would deny Najib the right to adduce relevant material and necessary evidence to ensure that the truth is established and justice is done," he said in Facebook to explain his reasons for taking the case on such short notice and also expressed his dismay at the judicial process and Justice Nazlan.

"The application was to show how manifestly egregious was the conflict of interest on the part of Justice Nazlan. In my view, the Judge was clearly biased.

"He had no business being the Trial Judge in the SRC matter. It is clear to us that the setback which Najib has suffered is a grave injustice arising from a manifest error of law and certainly derailed all efforts to pursue his constitutional rights that he is entitled to," he added.

Zaid's law firm, Zaid Ibrahim Sufian TH Liew & Partners was discharged today from acting as Najib's solicitors in his final appeal against his conviction for power and financial abuses of SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Najib’s decision was relayed to the five-panel judge led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat by his lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who is from a different legal firm.

Zaid said Najib had no choice but to discharge them but insisted that the fresh evidence they gathered would have exonerated Najib.

He explained that they had intended on focusing strictly on the legal and factual issues surrounding the case, concentrating especially on the issues of bias and conflict of interests.

Instead, the court decided not to allow them time to bring this new evidence to court.

"I have seen materials and the papers to state categorically that the fresh evidence that he was seeking to admit would have had a nuclear effect on the issue of Justice Nazlan's conflict of interest and apparent bias in being the trial judge and passing judgment and sentence on Najib.

"I regret that despite the best efforts of lead counsel, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, and the lawyers in my team both from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, we have not been able to dispel this sad misconception," he added.

Najib failed in his attempt to delay his appeal. The Court of Appeal had on December 8, 2021 upheld the High Court’s July 2020 verdict and sentence of 12 years in prison and a fine of RM210 million meted against Najib.

Najib had been found guilty of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust, and three counts of money laundering.

The case is now at the Federal Court, and it is Najib’s last chance to convince the judges that his conviction and punishment should be overturned.