Najib’s 1MDB trial to resume Jan 6, unable to proceed today as witness, lawyer sick

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex November 13, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex November 13, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s corruption trial over the alleged financial fraud 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) will not go on today or tomorrow as both his lawyer and the witness are both on sick leave.

The High Court hearing will resume from January 6 next year as scheduled.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah pronounced the trial will not proceed for now after being informed that the duo were ill.

“Under the circumstances, the witness is unavailable, lead counsel is unavailable, I have no alternative but to adjourn today’s trial and vacate tomorrow’s trial,” he said.

“We have earlier fixed continuation, I intend to maintain those dates,” he added.

The next trial dates already scheduled for Najib’s 1MDB case are from January 6 to 9, 13 to 16, 20 to 23, February 3 to 6, 10 to 13, 17 to 20, March 9 to 12, 16 to 19, 23 to 26, 30 to 31 and April 1 to 2.

Earlier, lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram told the judge that the ninth prosecution witness Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi was sick and would not be able to come to court these two days.

Today and tomorrow were the last two scheduled hearing days for the year for Najib’s 1MDB case.

Najib’s lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed informed the judge that counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has been down with a throat infection since yesterday.

“Senior counsel Tan Sri Shafee attended an examination in KPJ Damansara where he was diagnosed with severe throat infection. He was given MC yesterday from November 12 to November 14,” he said and submitted the medical certificate for Shafee’s sick leave to the court.

He said that Shafee wanted to attend court, despite being sick. 

“The reason why we only communicated this situation to this honourable court as well as prosecution today, because yesterday the senior counsel for defence was still contemplating whether he will be able to go on today.

“However this morning, he finds himself still very much ill and therefore we respectfully seek for today’s trial date to be adjourned and trial tomorrow to be vacated,” he said.

Even on Monday, Najib’s 1MDB trial was only heard in the morning and did not go on in the afternoon as Shahrol was feeling unwell.

The High Court had on Monday allowed the trial to resume today, instead of yesterday to allow Shahrol to recover.

Today was supposed to be Day 34 of the trial.

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