Najib-SRC trial: AG says 'I have been doing trial for 42 years' in lawyers' spat over examination method

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 17): A short spat occurred between the prosecution and defence lawyers on the fourth day of the Datuk Seri Najib Razak-SRC International Sdn Bhd trial today as both sides questioned the tactics used during the examination of the second witness.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas spoke in court for the first time this week to defend the prosecution's method of re-examining Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) officer Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar, which was disputed by Najib's defence lawyer Harvinderjit Singh.

Harvinderjit argued that re-examination should not have questions outside the scope of the cross-examination by the defence earlier.

Harvinderjit: My suggestion is for my learned friend refers to what the witness said, and then to clarify. If you want to do that [ask new questions] I am just going to stand up and leave.

At this point, Thomas stood up.

Thomas: Your Honour, I'm sorry. Each have their own style of examination in chief, cross-examination or re-examination. We do not need a lecture from the other side on how members of our team have to do what they ask.

Harvinderjit: I am not trying to suggest any particular style of re-examination. I am just merely saying that provision of the Evidence Act says that the re-examination must be to clarify pointers [of the cross-examination].

Thomas: That is exactly it! That is exactly about style. One style is to summarise the understanding of the cross-examination questions.

That is one style, but our idea is four or five general questions. I'm glad my learned friend said he's [got little] experience. But I have been doing trial for 42 years.

Harvinderjit: It is not about experience. Section 138 subsection 3 of the Evidence Act says this — The re-examination shall be directed to the explanation of matters referring to the cross-examination. It is not a matter of time, my Lord. There must be context, whether specific questions.

Judge Nazlan: Just mention the points that you want to re-examine.

Earlier during the cross-examination of the witnesses Azizul and BNM officer Mohammad Nizam Yahya, Harvinderjit questioned whether they were telling the truth to the court.

The lawyer questioned how Azizul could file a police report after the AmBank raid underlining the possible offences in relation to specific bank transactions, despite the earlier briefing by his superior saying that the raid was to be conducted in relation to Part IV of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Unlawful Activities 2001, which obligates reporting by the bank on suspected money laundering.

Azizul responded that the decision to include the offence in the 10.04pm report was made after examining all documents, including the specific transactions which were shared by AmBank officer R Uma Devi at 9.30pm without specific request by Azizul for her to do so.

The prosecution has called in the fourth witness, 32-year-old Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin, who was the investigation officer for the AmBank raid.

The trial involving seven charges against former premier Najib for allegedly siphoning RM42 million into his bank account will resume at 2.30pm.