06/22/2020 - Australian Expert Witness To Give Evidence in Kuala Lumpur.

Australian Expert Witness To Give Evidence in Kuala Lumpur.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was allowed to call an Australian expert
witness to examine 13 questionable documents, the High Court ruled. Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali stated an accused in his defence was entitled to procure and lead any relevant evidence of his choice.

"Even if the basis for this application is an afterthought, or a recent invention
by the accused, this is not a valid reason to bar the accused from leading evidence in his defence.

"Furthermore, it is a settled law that even if a defence is not put to the prosecution
witness, the court is still bound to consider the defence, however weak," he said

The judge said it was up to the court to determine whether the credibility of the defence was adversely affected by any afterthought should the expert evidence be tendered.

"This would ensure that the best evidence on the authenticity of the disputed documents
is made available to this court.

"It is the duty of this court to ensure that the integrity of the trial process and the constitutional right of the accused to a fair trial is upheld at all times," Justice Nazlan added.

He also said the prosecution would be able to call a rebuttal witness if they wish to do so, as provided under Section 425 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The 13 documents consist of 11 documents marked as prosecution evidence, and another two marked as defence evidence.

During the trial, Najib raised questions on the authenticity of his signatures, as he claimed
that he was never shown the original copies of the disputed documents.

The Pekan MP is facing seven charges – three for criminal breach of trust, one for abuse of power and three for money laundering involving SRC funds totalling RM42mil.

The defence was ordered to arrange the examination by the expert next week for
a period of not more than two days, before the trial continues

Najib faces seven charges — three for criminal breach of trust, one for abuse of power and three for money laundering involving SRC International funds totalling RM42mil.

The three-day hearing of submissions started on Monday (June 1) and continues this afternoon before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

An update: Datuk Seri Najib Razak's lawyers have decided not to call a handwriting expert to verify his signatures on some contentious documents.

Lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah confirmed this when the matter was brought up before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.Earlier, lead prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram said Shafee had written to the prosecution on the status of the documents exmination by Australian handwriting expert Dr Steven Starch.

In the letter, the defence team said an impasse had arisen relating to the terms of Dr Starch's appointment and as a result they were unable to proceed further with his appointment.

The prosecution was told that the defence had not received any report or findings by Dr Starch from his examination of the documents conducted on Feb 11 and 12.

"We will therefore not be calling him to testify," Shafee had informed the prosecutors.