KUALA LUMPUR: The legal team for Shafee Abdullah argued in his contempt case that what he had said to the media during the hearing of Najib Razak’s SRC International corruption trial, was merely a “chest-thumping statement” from the lawyer.
Harvinderjit Singh, representing Shafee, said the “average intelligent reader” would have distinguished if the statement had scandalised the courts.
Shafee was alleged to have made the comments outside the High Court on Feb 7.
He reportedly said that Najib’s defence team could win in the SRC International corruption trial if the judge was left alone and not influenced.
He said victory was possible “if the judge is straight, if witnesses are not coached, and if evidence is not fabricated”.
“Would the trial judge be influenced in coming to his decision on the SRC case based on what he (Shafee) said?” Harvinderjit asked when applying to the High Court to set aside its order that allowed the attorney-general (AG) to initiate contempt proceedings against Shafee.
“The statement does not make reference to the judge or any proceedings and there was no issue here of an attempt to influence the judge,” he said.
Co-counsel David Mathews said the attorney-general, in filing his application at another court to obtain the green light for contempt proceedings, should have filed it before SRC International trial judge Nazlan Ghazali.
Mathews said that by failing to file the contempt case before Nazlan, the AG‘s action was akin to “forum shopping”.
”The burning question is why the AG has to file the case in another court when the trial judge would be the best person to determine whether the impugned statements are contemptuous,” he said.
The hearing before High Court judge Firuz Jaffril continues on June 14.
Before the start of the hearing today, Mathews clarified to the court about media reports that said Firuz “chided” senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan for filing his submissions late on behalf of the AG.
“I don’t think Yang Arif made the remarks in that manner.
“I feel I should tell the court because the reports painted the senior federal counsel in bad light,” he said.
In reply, Firuz told Shamsul that it was not his intention to say things that would land him in trouble.