Judge refuses to recuse himself, so Shafee to file formal application

Shafee Abdullah (left) and his lawyer Harvinderjit Singh (right) outside the High Court today. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Shafee Abdullah plans to formally seek to recuse a High Court judge from hearing his RM9.5 million money laundering case.

He said a formal application would be filed this week to recuse Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah from hearing his trial.

Sequerah refused to step down from hearing the money laundering trial after Shafee’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh suggested to the court today, during case mention, that Sequerah should not hear the case.

“We take the position that Yang Arif (Sequerah) should not hear this case as Yang Arif is also hearing Najib Razak’s 25 charges on money laundering and abuse of power,” he said, referring to criminal charges leveled against the former prime minister.

Najib’s money laundering and abuse of power trial will start on April 15, 2019.

Fiat prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said the prosecution would respect any decision by Sequerah on whether to hear Shafee’s trial or otherwise.

To that, Sequerah said he would not recuse himself from Shafee’s case and proceeded to fix the trial dates for May next year.

“I do not share your (Harvinderjit) view,” the judge said.

Shafee’s trial is scheduled to start on May 14, 2019, and will continue on May 15, May 17, May 28, May 29 and May 31.

He claimed trial to four money laundering charges in September over the transfer of RM9.5 million into his bank account between August 2013 and January 2014.

Shafee is also accused of making false declarations to the Inland Revenue Board for the same amount between March and June 2015.