The Court of Appeal today urged Najib Abdul Razak's lead counsel to be more courteous when describing Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
"Please use polite words to show where he (Nazlan) had gone wrong. No need to use phrases like 'hopelessly incompetent' and 'poisoned his judgment'," said the chairperson of the three-person bench Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.
This was after Muhammad Shafee Abdullah used the phrases "hopelessly incompetent" and "poisoned" when referring to Nazlan's conviction of the ex-prime minister last year in the RM42 million SRC International corruption case.
Shafee said those words in relation to the defence's assertion that Nazlan's decision to convict and sentence Najib should be set aside.
Karim told Shafee that the phrases "erred in law" and "misdirected himself" could have been used instead when speaking about Nazlan's decision.
In response, Shafee said that he could not pull his punches if that was what transpired.
The other members of the three-person bench were Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.
Earlier today, Shafee was submitting that when Najib was ordered to enter his defence on all seven charges on Nov 11, 2019, Nazlan's oral grounds of judgment stated that the prosecution succeeded in establishing a prima facie case.
However, the defence contended that following Najib being found guilty last year, the judge had inserted additional reasons on why the former premier was ordered to enter his defence.
"It is highly improper and prejudicial to the accused,” Shafee submitted, adding that there was also serious misdirection by Nazlan.
The lawyer claimed that the insertion of the addtional reasons was illegal and showed that the judge was biased.
"The judge is hopelessly incompetent resulting in the blunder," Shafee claimed, contending that Najib was denied a fair trial.
The lawyer also contended that the additions of new points in the grounds of judgment and record of appeal showed that Nazlan had "poisoned" his judgment.
The hearing before the Court of Appeal is ongoing today.
On July 28 last year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur convicted Najib on one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), and three counts of money laundering in relation to RM42 million of funds from SRC.
Nazlan had then sentenced Najib to 12 years in jail and a fine of RM210 million.
However, the High Court allowed Najib's defence team's application to stay the execution of the sentence, pending the disposal of his appeal.
SRC was a former subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. The company later became fully owned by Minister of Finance Incorporated.
Besides being prime minister at the time, Najib was also the finance minister, advisor emeritus of SRC, and chairperson of 1MDB's board of advisors.