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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

SRC Appeal: Najib files bid to allow UK Queen’s Counsel to represent him

Jonathan Laidlaw, a Queen’s Counsel (QC) from the United Kingdom, seeks to act for Najib Abdul Razak in the former prime minister’s appeal in the RM42 million SRC International corruption case.

Najib’s lawyers from Shafee and Co filed the originating motion involving the UK lawyer at the Kuala Lumpur High Court this afternoon.

The Federal Court has set 10 days in August to hear Najib’s final appeal to quash his conviction as well as a 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine in the SRC graft case.

It was previously reported that Najib sought to hire a QC for his appeal.

According to a copy of the application made available to the media today, Najib seeks for Laidlaw to be admitted and enrolled as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya under Section 18 (1) of the Legal Profession Act 1976.

Lead counsel

Najib, who was also a former finance minister seeks a UK lawyer to appear as lead counsel in his appeal before the apex court.

“The appeal will involve serious, complex and/or novel issues related to several branches of criminal and civil laws, practice and evidence, the constitutional rights of the appellant, the conduct of proceedings by the prosecution, the adjudication of criminal cases by a trial court and the administration of the criminal justice system.

“Messrs Shafee and Co are solicitors for the appellant in the appeal and the appellant wishes to engage the professional services of the applicant to act as lead counsel in the appeal. Messrs Shafee and Co and (Najib’s lead defence lawyer) Muhammad Shafee Abdullah have instructed the applicant (Laidlaw) accordingly.

“For the purposes of the appeal, the applicant possesses special qualifications, experience and expertise which is not available amongst advocates and solicitors in Malaysia,” the originating motion read.

It is understood that Najib’s lawyers are in the process of servicing copies of the application to the prosecution.

Dismissed appeal

On Dec 8 last year, the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal to overturn the guilty verdict and sentencing in the SRC case.

Previously a subsidiary of 1MDB, SRC later became fully owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated.

Besides being a former prime minister and finance minister, Najib also used to be SRC’s adviser emeritus and chairperson of 1MDB’s board of advisers.

On July 28, 2020, the Kuala Lumpur High Court found him guilty on one charge of abuse of position as then premier, three counts of criminal breach of trust, and three counts of money laundering involving RM42 million of funds from SRC.

The lower court had also imposed the sentences but stayed its execution pending disposal of Najib’s appeal. The trial judge was Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who has since been elevated to the Appellate Court. - Mkini

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