KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — As both the defence and prosecutions wrapped up their final submission in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM42 million SRC International trial, both sides exuded in the confidence of obtaining a favourable verdict come judgment day next month.
Speaking to reporters after proceedings, ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram expressed confidence in the prosecution to have successfully proved their case against Najib to obtain a conviction, saying how all the necessary ingredients to prove the office had been provided.
He said the onus now shifts to High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali to evaluate all the facts and evidence tendered over the course of the trial in both the prosecution and defence stages without bias, and reach a verdict.
When asked how has the change of government affected the course of the trial, considering how Najib is now from a party within the ruling coalition, Sithambaram explained that there had been no change in stance from the prosecution to prove its case, neither were they pressured to ease up.
“We have done it (the trial) with the same interest and not in any way asked to back off, that is the case is ran exactly as it started; the political change has never had an impact on the prosecution and I am very grateful for that.
“Because law and order should not depend on the political parties that are running the country, it should depend on the law and the justice (system),” he said.
On the experience of prosecuting a former sitting prime minister, Sithambaram first stressed how everyone was equal before the law, and that even though Najib was a former prime minister, he said that no stone was left unturned over the course of the trial.
“Although the accused, being a former prime minister, I think he was given the respect as a former PM, but I don’t think the prosecution spared in our duty to do what is right and what is necessary and proper,” he said.
The senior lawyer added that even though it did seem quite daunting at times to cross-examine a former prime minister, he lauded Najib for respecting and adhering to all the legal procedures involved.
“It has been an experience in a sense, quite daunting, even though I have 42 years of practice (as a lawyer), to cross-examine a former prime minister, and he was cross-examined by us, me in particular for more than 10 to 11 days.
“But to be fair, many people would not like it; he as a witness did not pull ranks and he answered those questions to the best of his abilities,” he said.
As for the defence team, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had also expressed confidence in obtaining a favourable verdict saying they have also managed to present a solid case in proving Najib’s innocence.
“We are very confident that the ultimate result will be in our favour, that I can tell you because we are confident and you can hear it in our submission, it was not a hollow narrative, not a hollow submission,” he said.
On the experience of defending a former prime minister, Shafee said he and his team experienced an exciting time handling the trial.
“We were like water in the river, quite smooth flowing, and we took care of every one of the witnesses with a lot of preparedness,” he said.
Shafee did lament how some documents were handed to them by the prosecution at the last minute as opposed to the legal systems abroad where he explained that total disclosure of relevant evidence is practiced in trials.
“We did a lot of investigations because we were not privileged to have documents like the prosecution has, and unlike other countries where you have it months ahead, and with total disclosure.
Najib, whose trial over seven criminal charges began last April, was asked to enter his defence for allegedly committing three counts of criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, and a separate charge of abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.
For the remaining three charges, the Pekan MP is accused of laundering RM42 million.
Mohd Nazlan has set the morning of July 28 for him to deliver his verdict in the case.
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