KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 -- Someone’s mobile phone rang during the trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak at the High Court here today, piercing through the normally hushed atmosphere, much to Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah’s annoyance.
At the time, Najib’s counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was cross-examining the prosecution’s ninth witness, former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MBD) chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.
The attention of the judge, lawyers and deputy public prosecutors shifted to where the sound was coming from.
In the split second confusion, Muhammad Shafee proceeded to explain, unnecessarily and probably in jest, that it was not his client's phone as he was in the dock.
The culprit appeared to be a lady at the front row of the public gallery who took a good half a minute, in a state of panic, to locate and switch off her handphone.
Prompted by the judge, the court interpreter issued a stern reminder to the audience to switch off their devices.
"Please switch off your handphone otherwise the court will confiscate the phone if it rings again," warned the interpreter.
A notice is pasted on courtroom doors reminding the public to switch off their mobile phones as required during proceedings.
Najib, 66, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The hearing continues tomorrow.