Najib, Arul Kanda's acquittal: Prosecution fails to file court papers within deadline needed to continue appeal

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — The prosecution’s has not filed the document within the deadline required to continue with its appeal against the High Court’s acquittal of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy in the trial over the alleged tampering of the auditor-general's audit report on 1MDB.

Arul Kanda’s lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan confirmed that the prosecution had not filed the document at the Court of Appeal against the acquittals of both Najib and Arul Kanda, and said the case will now be brought up in the Court of Appeal again on August 30.

“The matter is now fixed for case management on 30th August for the court to decide whether the matter should thereafter be fixed for case management before the deputy registrar or for mention before the panel of the Court of Appeal.

“This is due to the fact that no petition of appeal has been filed by the prosecution despite the fact that the time for filing has elapsed,” he told Malay Mail when contacted, following a case management at the Court of Appeal today.

Asked by Malay Mail, Sivananthan said the deadline for the prosecution to file the petition of appeal was due in the first week of July this year, and confirmed that the prosecution had yet to apply for an extension of the deadline to file these documents at the Court of Appeal.

“To date no extension of time was ever applied for by the prosecution,” he said.

When asked if the prosecution’s appeal is discontinued, Sivananthan confirmed the appeal has to be officially recorded as struck off by the Court of Appeal before it can be regarded as discontinued.

“It still has to be either discontinued or struck off neither of which has been done,” he said.

But asked if the prosecution’s failure to file the petition of appeal within the deadline means that the appeal against Najib’s and Arul Kanda’s acquittal would not be able to continue, Sivananthan said that the appeal could be continued if the prosecution obtains from the Court of Appeal an extension of the deadline to file the petition of appeal.

“Unless prosecution applies for extension of time to file petition of appeal and allowed,” he said.

He said the prosecution could apply for an extension of time even after the deadline for the petition of appeal’s filing has lapsed: “One can apply for abridgement of time to file out of time.”

Apart from Sivananthan, lawyer Jasmine Cheong also appeared for Arul Kanda during the case management today.

Previously, it was reported that Arul Kanda had on July 20 sent a representation letter to the Attorney-General's Chambers to ask the prosecution to withdraw its appeal against his acquittal in the case.

When contacted by Malay Mail, Najib’s defence lawyer Alaistair Brandah Norman confirmed the case will come up for case management again on August 30.

“This matter has now been fixed for another case management on 30.08.2023 either before the Deputy Registrar or the panel of the Court of Appeal, as we have taken the position that the appeal is defective,” he said.

Alaistair confirmed that Najib has not filed any representation letter to the attorney-general to ask for the appeal in the 1MDB audit case to be discontinued.

Lawyers Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Muhammad Farhan Shafee also appeared for Najib in this case.

After the High Court on March 3 acquitted the duo, the prosecution had on March 9 this year filed the appeal.

Previously in Najib's separate criminal case involving SRC International Sdn Bhd's RM42 million, the prosecution had filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal to seek heavier penalties after Najib was convicted at the High Court, but the prosecution also did not file a petition of appeal within the deadline and that appeal also lapsed and was not continued.

Najib subsequently failed in his appeals against his conviction at both the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court in the SRC case, and he has been serving his 12-year jail sentence since August last year.