PUTRAJAYA, Aug 19 — As the prosecution concluded its submission in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s final appeal against his conviction of misappropriating funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd, lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik again sought for an adjournment to next week’s hearing at the Federal Court.
However, a five judge panel led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat rejected the senior lawyer’s request to vacate the hearing fixed for next Tuesday and Wednesday (August 23 and 24).
Earlier, Hisyam had sought the court’s permission if the ongoing appeal hearing could resume on Thursday (August 25) instead as he has other matters to attend to without specifying in detail.
In response, Tengku Maimun reiterated the court’s stand in denying any form of adjournment before ordering for court proceedings to resume on Tuesday morning.
It is understood that Hisyam is the lead defence lawyer for Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s criminal breach of trust of the charity Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds trial, which will resume on Tuesday.
Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to RM31 million of charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.
Separately, Hisyam also again informed the court he will not be filling in any sorts of submissions including oral submissions after the prosecution wrapped up its submission.
With three days to the next hearing date, Tengku Maimun then asked Hisyam whether the defence was so unprepared to present their case even orally, to which Hisyam asserted he will not be putting in any submissions.
Acknowledging Hisyam’s reply, Tengku Maimun then remarked that it was the senior lawyer’s liberty to do so and the court will decide on the matter on Tuesday before adjourning court for the day.
Yesterday, Hisyam had applied to discharge himself as Najib’s counsel if the Federal Court refused to defer hearing the final appeal.
He was thwarted, however, by the Federal Court, who reminded the lawyer that he had a duty to his client after accepting the appointment.
During a press conference, Hisyam was quoted as saying he was in no position to participate in the current appeal proceedings since he was not accorded time, which he had applied to court for and was denied, in order to make the necessary preparations for Najib’s defence.
Leading the prosecution is ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram who was assisted by deputy public prosecutors Donald Joseph Franklin, Sulaiman Kho Kheng Fuei, Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul and Manjira Vasudevan.
The other four judges on the bench were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Federal Court judges Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.
The Court of Appeal had on December 8, 2021 upheld the High Court’s July 2020 verdict and sentence of 12 years in prison and a fine of RM210 million meted against Najib.
Najib had been found guilty of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust, and three counts of money laundering.
The hearing at the country’s supreme court had been scheduled to take place over nine days, from August 15 to August 19 and will resume after this weekend from August 23 to August 26.
August 15 and 16 were spent hearing Najib’s bid to add new evidence and seek a postponement that were ultimately disallowed by the Federal Court. The court then fixed August 18 as the start of the main SRC International appeal hearing.
The case is now at the Federal Court, and it is Najib’s last chance to convince the judges that his conviction and punishment should be overturned.