KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak will enter his defence on Dec 3 as scheduled on seven charges involving RM42 million allegedly siphoned out from SRC International Sdn Bhd.
The High Court today dismissed his application to postpone the trial.
In his decision, Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the former prime minister and his defence team have been given ample time to prepare the defence.
He said he had taken into consideration the background of the trial, its start and progress, and the key dates and directions which were given in advance.
“I find that ample notice and reasonable time has been given to prepare and re-strategise the relevant arrangement.
“The request for adjournment in my view cannot be sustained. Accordingly, I dismiss the application, and trial will therefore resume on Dec 3,” he said.
Najib’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh had sought for a long adjournment from the court on grounds that the defence needed more time to prepare their case.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas meanwhile said lawyers should not have taken the cases if they were not free.
“Barristers should not take risks. In this country, there are 4,000 to 5,000 criminal lawyers. If the defence chooses the same defence counsel, they must pay the price. I object to this adjournment application," he said.
Senior lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is leading the defence team for all of Najib's cases, while Harvinderjit is the co-counsel.
In the same proceedings, the judge also dismissed the former prime minister’s application to obtain a list of witnesses that the prosecution had not offered to the defence but who had their statements recorded.
In dismissing the application, Nazlan said it was a ‘fishing expedition’.
He said the list of witnesses and the witness statements remain privileged because of public policy considerations and risk of witness tampering.
“Statements taken by the investigating officer under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act are privileged and not subject to disclosure for inspection at any stage of the trial.
“I find that the test of desirability and necessity in respect of the witnesses already offered to the defence is not satisfied because the applicant (Najib) has not identified which witnesses' statements he required and what were the roles of these witnesses and the relevance of the evidence.
“In this context, the application appears to be a fishing expedition,” he said.
Najib, who is now attending the Tanjung Piai by-election, was exempted from attending today’s proceedings.
He is facing seven charges of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money-laundering involving RM42 million of SRC International funds.
The Pekan MP is charged with committing the offences between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 10, 2015.
He faces 20 years’ jail and fine for the offences, if convicted.