Najib seeks to postpone application hearing and decision after Covid-19 strikes legal team

PUTRAJAYA: Covid-19 has struck the defence team of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as they are now seeking to postpone the hearing of their application to adduce new evidence to the SRC International Sdn Bhd appeal, which was scheduled to be heard on Tuesday (Dec 7) morning.

Lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pic) informed the court via a letter, which was made available to the press late last night, that one of his lawyers had tested positive for Covid-19 while others had become close contacts or casual contacts.

The Court of Appeal is supposed to hear an application filed by Najib on Dec 1 where the Pekan MP is for the appellate court to allow and direct for the viva voce evidence (oral evidence) of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki, among others, to be taken for the purpose of Najib’s appeal.

The appellate court is also set to deliver the decision in Najib’s appeal in the SRC International case on Wednesday (Dec 8).

In his letter, Muhammad Shafee asked the court to vacate the hearing for both the proceedings today and tomorrow as the lawyer, who is his son, Muhammad Farhan, had tested positive for Covid-19 on Dec 6.

Another lawyer at his firm, Zahria Eleena Redza, also informed two other members of the defence team Harvinderjit Singh and Farhan Read, that her mother was Covid-19 positive based on test results at 6.08pm yesterday.

“On Dec 4, Muhammad Shafee along with Muhammad Farhan and his wife had attended a celebration and met with close friends and relatives where it also involved Zahria Eleena’s family including her mother, Datin Edwina Patricia Totu,” Muhammad Shafee said.

After the team was informed by Zahria Eleena about her mother, all the lawyers at the firm had self-tested themselves, Muhammad Shafee said.

Muhammad Farhan’s test came up positive in three different test kits while the rest were negative.

“Thus the MySejahtera status of all those involved have changed to casual or close contact as they await an appropriate time to conduct a PCR test.

“Based on the above reasons, we have the social responsibility towards the court and involved parties to inform everyone of the matter.

“We did not anticipate this to happen but it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of those involved in this appeal,” he added.

A court official said that the hearing for this morning will proceed in “hybrid-style” whereby the panel of judges and the prosecution will be in open court while the defence team will participate through Zoom.