KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — The country’s highest court will continue to hear Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s final appeal against his SRC International Sdn Bhd conviction on August 15 as scheduled, and has stressed that there should not be any more postponements.
The Federal Court confirmed this today, after a recent request for postponement from the former prime minister’s new defence team from Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners.
“As you are aware, the hearing dates for the appeals above have been scheduled to start from August 15, 2022 until August 19, 2022 (Monday-Friday) and subsequently starting from August 22, 2022 until August 26, 2022 (Monday-Friday).
“The Court wishes to stress that no postponements will be allowed and parties are required to take the appropriate steps and be ready for the hearing of those appeals,” the Federal Court told Najib's new legal team in a letter yesterday.
The top court’s letter was in reply to the new team’s July 26 request for postponement.
The Federal Court made it clear to both the prosecution and defence that it is sticking to the hearing dates for the SRC appeal from August 15 to 26 as scheduled when the case came up today for management.
The Federal Court previously informed Najib's lawyers and the prosecution about the SRC appeal hearing dates three months ago on April 29.
Despite this, Najib's new lawyers are expected to make another application for a postponement before the Bench on August 15.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul told Malay Mail when contacted this evening that the new defence team informed the Federal Court about its postponement plans for August 15 during today’s case management.
Najib previously applied to add in alleged new evidence in his bid to nullify the entire SRC trial where he was found guilty.
The Federal Court today informed both the prosecution and Najib's lawyers that this application will also be heard on August 15.
Based on today's case management, Najib's new lawyers are also expected to apply directly before the Federal Court judges on August 15 to postpone the hearing of this application, purported to add new evidence.
Najib had on May 31 through his previous team from Shafee & Co applied to have UK lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw represent him here for the SRC case, which was rejected by the High Court on July 21.
The High Court said it found that the UK lawyer did not have special qualifications or experience which local lawyers would not have.
In today’s case management, Najib's new lawyers told the Federal Court that their client will not press to have Laidlaw represent him in the SRC case.
Najib’s new defence team made their first appearance in today’s case management at the Federal Court, which took place on Zoom.
Three of the new counsel in attendance were senior lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Liew Teck Huat and Rueben Mathiavaranam.
Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Rahmat Hazlan from Najib’s old team, which had been discharged on July 25, also attended the virtual court proceedings.
Datuk V. Sithambaram and DPP Mohd Ashrof appeared for the prosecution.
This will be Najib's final appeal in the SRC case, as he had previously been found guilty at the High Court in July 2020 and had lost his appeal at the Court of Appeal in December 2021.