KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today dismissed Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s defence application to postpone the mitigation to Monday.
Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in his decision said he accepted that there were situations where sentencing can be postponed but the accused must still provide good reasons to justify postponement.
“I do not consider that as justification. The accused still has the right to appeal, as such this court will proceed to hear mitigation for the accused,” he said.
The judge had earlier found the former prime minister guilty on all seven charges of Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT), money laundering and abuse of position, involving RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.
Earlier, Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had cited three cases where the court had postponed the plea mitigation proceedings to another date after convicting the accused.
“This has been done almost all the time at lower courts. The lower court granted the application to adjourn mitigation for parties to make proper mitigation and to enable certain facts to be clarified,” said the senior lawyer.
While reading another case, Muhammad Shafee said the sentencing was done on another day and it was a standard of procedure.
“In the United States, in a murder case, the sentencing was done one separate date,” he said.
At this juncture, Judge Mohd Nazlan had questioned the lawyer whether most of the cases he cited involved the accused held in the custody.
To this, Muhammad Shafee replied that not all accused were detained in custody pending sentencing and mitigation.
“In fact, I was informed by a senior DPP (deputy public prosecutor) who does not want to be named that it is a routine procedure in the lower court to set another day for sentencing and mitigation,” he said.
Mohd Nazlan: What is the status of the accused?
Muhammad Shafee: Your Honour can say that bail is extended.
Meanwhile, ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram said some of the cases referred by Shafee involved all accused who pleaded guilty.
As such, he said the court needs to impose several terms on the accused should it decide to grant the adjournment. – Bernama