PUTRAJAYA, March 12 (Bernama) -- The defence team in former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's SRC International Sdn Bhd criminal case is seeking access to documents that the prosecution does not intend to use in its case at the trial, the Court of Appeal heard.
Ad hoc deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Datuk V. Sithambaram submitted the statements and documents requested by the defence were not documents that the prosecution was required to supply under Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
"The granting of the order sought by the appellant (Najib) will effectively mean that the investigating papers have to be delivered over to the appellant as they are statements and documents obtained by the investigating officer under section 30 (9) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (MACC) and Section 40 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA)," he said.
Sithambaram, a lawyer who was appointed ad hoc deputy public prosecutor, said under Section 51A, the prosecution was only required to supply the defence at the pre-trial stage, a copy of the information report, documents that would be tendered as part of prosecution evidence and a written statement of facts favourable to the defence.
He said if the prosecution supplied all the documents it would be akin to surrendering the investigation papers in their entirety to the defence, causing floodgates to be opened as the prosecution would have to supply the entire investigating papers to the defence.
Sithambaram also submitted that there could be a possibility of tampering of witnesses if witness statements were supplied to the defence before trial and witnesses would not come forward.
"The prosecution has to-date delivered 31 volumes of documents amounting to approximately 6500 pages, which it intends to use as part of the evidence for the prosecution," he told the three-man bench in Najib's appeal for discovery of documents.
He said admissibility of documents was a matter to be determined at the trial and not at the pre-trial stage.
Citing a case authority in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's case, he said the Federal Court had held that an accused person was not entitled to know by what means the prosecution proposes to prove the facts underlying the charge he faces which remained the prosecution's prerogative.
Najib had filed four appeals relating to his interlocutory applications which were dismissed by the High Court.
The applications were for a gag order to prohibit the media and public from discussing the merits of his criminal case, for recovery of documents, to challenge on the appointment of lawyer Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah as the lead prosecutor and on the prosecution's move to withdraw the certificate to transfer his case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.
Najib's counsel Harvinderjit Singh argued that he was not asking for investigation papers but wanted witness statements taken under the AMLA and MACC Act to assist them in their defence.
Meanwhile, the court had set Friday to resume hearing of the appeals after Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah informed the court that he broke his wrist after playing with his pet dog and was unable to continue submitting today.
He said his pet dog jumped on him and he was in pain and needed to seek immediate medical attention after an x-ray scan.
Attorney General Tommy Thomas said his office was under public pressure for Najib’s trial to start the soonest possible.
“Everyone wants the trial to start as early as tomorrow. There is an enormous pressure on the prosecution team...in fact a global pressure on us for the trial to start," Thomas said.
Thomas said he understood Muhammad Shafee had a problem but on the other hand the prosecution was under scrutiny why the trial hadn't begun.
Muhammad Shafee suggested to resume the hearing on Friday after Thomas informed the court that he was unable to attend court on Thursday because he has to be in Johor.
Justice Zabariah agreed to resume the hearing on Friday at 8.30 am.
On July 4 last year, the 66-year old Pekan Member of Parliament was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one charge of abusing his position over SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million.
On Aug 8 last year, Najib was charged with three counts of money laundering involving the same amount of money.