KUALA LUMPUR: A no-show by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his lawyers and also the former prime minister’s bailors at the Court of Appeal today enraged the judge presiding over the case, prompting him to warn that a warrant of arrest could be issued against the accused and also his bailors.
Justice Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil issued the warning after ticking off lawyer Harvinder Singh Sindhu who appeared on Najib’s behalf at the hearing.
He later ordered today’s proceedings to go on via zoom which will begin at 12.30pm. The judge also made it clear that the court would deliver its verdict on Najib’s appeal tomorrow no matter what.
It was clear from the onset of the hearing this morning that the panel of three judges was not pleased with Harvinder’s attempt to provide excuses over Najib’s no show in court.
Abdul Karim immediately got the session rolling by asking if Najib was present in court and when there was clearly no sign of the accused, he tore into Harvinder.
“Najib is not here and the bailors are also not here. We can do two things today. We are not happy that the appellant is not interested to come here.
“The bailors are also not here. We can now revoke bail, seize the amount that was put up and issue a warrant of arrest.
“Najib will then be arrested immediately and brought to court. The other option is we can order this hearing to be heard online,” he said.
Harvinder then tried to get the judge to agree to an adjournment of at least a week but this was outrightly rejected.
Abdul Karim said the court did not wish to hear any more excuses and ordered the proceedings to go on at 12.30pm.
He warned that failure to follow the order would result in consequences for the appellant.
“I am only giving a maximum of one hour for both sides to present their arguments…no more.
“I also want to make it clear that we will deliver our decision tomorrow,” he said.
Harvinder tried to persuade the judge to stand down the hearing but this was rejected by Abdul Karim.
The judge then turned his attention to one of Najib’s bailors, who eventually showed up in the midst of the proceedings.
He questioned the bailor on Najib’s whereabouts and when the bailor could not give a definite answer, he was given an earful by the judge.
It was reported that Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had writen to the court late yesterday requesting for today and tomorrow’s dates to be vacated as the entire defence team along with Najib had come into close contact with a Covid 19 positive case.
This argument was however rejected by Abdul Karim who ticked off Harvinder that the court was acutely aware of the standard operating procedures for those classified as close contacts.
He said it was no excuse to delay proceedings.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram submitted that the SRC International case had been riddled with defence applications for adjournments.
He said the latest stunt appeared to be another last minute attempt by Najib to scuttle today’s hearing and tomorrow’s decision.
He said the court must ensure the law was applied fairly to everyone, especially when it was a case of no show in court.
Najib is appealing against his conviction and 12 years jail and RM210 million fine after he was convicted of seven corruption and abuse of power charges.