Rosmah is distressed over decision
Published on: Friday, February 19, 2021
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Kuala Lumpur: Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the 69-year old wife of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, had to be comforted after High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan ruled that the prosecution had adduced enough credible evidence to establish a prima facie case against her.

Her lawyers, Datuk Jagjit Singh and Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kadir, said Rosmah would nevertheless fight the charges against her all the way.

“She was frankly emotionally upset...distressed and we had to comfort her a little bit.

“We just told her to go back to her house and remove all the stress... relax at home,” Jagjit told reporters as Rosmah made her way out of the courtroom while pressmen jostled to get shots of her.

Jagjit added that the defence team also felt saddened by the judge’s decision and were concerned by it, but added they would nevertheless “bow to the ruling”.

Rosmah, who was seated in the dock while Najib sat directly behind her in the public gallery, just looked on silently as the judge read out his decision.

However, she later voiced out that she needed to consult her lawyers when asked if she wanted to opt to remain silent and not answer the charges, give an unsworn statement from the dock without being cross examined, or testify under oath from the witness stand.

The judge allowed her request and after a brief discussion with Jagjit, Rosmah said she would be testifying under oath.

This means Rosmah would be open to cross examination by the prosecution team, which is led by former Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram (pic) and assisted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Abdul Gharib.

The court has fixed June 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, July 12 and 15 for continuation of the trial, which has seen 23 prosecution witnesses testify since proceedings began on Feb 5, 2020.

Meanwhile, there is no legal requirement under Malaysian criminal law for a trial judge to give any reason when calling accused persons to enter their defence, lawyers said.

Gopal Sri Ram said a 1993 Supreme Court ruling in Junaidi Abdullah v Public Prosecutor also held that there was no provision for a judge sitting alone to expressly record his reason.

“The duty of an accused person is to answer the prosecution’s case,” said Sri Ram, who is leading the prosecution team in Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial.

He said this in response to this morning’s decision, which reportedly left Rosmah stunned and in tears. The High Court ordered her to enter her defence on three counts of corruption to help a company secure a RM1.25 billion solar project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

Akberdin Abdul Kadir, a member of Rosmah’s legal team said his client was shocked because trial judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan did not provide the grounds for his decision.

The lawyer said Rosmah expected some broad reasons to be given since her trial was a high-profile case.

Lawyer Kitson Foong weighed in on the matter, saying Section 180 of the Criminal Procedure Code merely mandated the court to make a finding on whether the prosecution had made out a prima facie case on each charge against the accused.

“No more, no less” he told FMT in a text message.

Foong said the fact that Section 50 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act was successfully activated by the judge against Rosmah was indicative that she had to rebut the belief she had accepted corrupt money.

“There is, therefore, no question of the accused or the defence being disadvantaged,” he said.

Lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali said a ruling as defined under Section 3 of the Courts of Judicature Act was not final.

“In this case, the ruling to enter her defence is only done in the midst of the trial. She is not prejudiced,” he said.

Rafique added that Rosmah had all the opportunity at the defence stage to cast a mere doubt on a lower burden of proof.

He said in any event, this case could automatically go up to the Federal Court and a large bench could rectify any error of law and facts.

Zaini, who proposed not to give a summary of his findings “at this stage”, said the prosecution had adduced credible evidence to prove every ingredient of the charge.

“On the maximum evaluation of the evidence, I find the prosecution has succeeded in proving a prima facie case against the accused (on all the charges),” he said.


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