Appeal put on hold as Rosmah on sick leave

Rosmah Mansor’s lawyer says she is medically unfit to attend court.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today allowed Rosmah Mansor to attend court on another day to appeal against the transfer of her corruption trial from the Sessions Court to the High Court, as she is currently on medical leave.

A three-member bench chaired by Abdul Rahman Sebli said Rosmah had expressed her desire to be present in court today.

“Rule 74 (2) of the Court of Appeal Rules 1994 entitles an appellant to be present at the hearing of the appeal,” he said, dismissing the prosecution’s application for the appeal to be heard in her absence.

Rahman said a medical report signed by Dr Syed Abdul Latiff Alsagoff stated that Rosmah had been advised to rest in bed and to avoid sitting for long periods until her symptoms subside.

“We are compelled to allow this adjournment,” he added.

The other two judges were Kamardin Hashim and Harminder Singh Dhaliwal.

Rosmah’s lead counsel Jagjit Singh had applied for the appeal to be adjourned, saying his client was medically unfit to be present in court.

He said the Court of Appeal rules entitle her to be present to follow the proceedings.

Jagjit, who is assisted by Akbardin Abdul Kader, said Rosmah had been granted an exemption from attending proceedings in the High Court yesterday as she was on medical leave.

However, ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said the Court of Appeal rules only apply to appellants in criminal appeals.

He added that Rosmah’s medical certificate does not state that she can be excused from attending court.

“The appeal hearing will not prejudice Rosmah in her absence,” he said, adding that he had strict instructions from the public prosecutor to continue with the case today.

On March 15, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur allowed the prosecution’s application to transfer Rosmah’s corruption case from the Sessions Court.

However, her lawyers said Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi was more than competent to hear the case as her court is designed only to dispose of graft cases.

Jagjit said then that the prosecution had not given cogent reasons for the case to be tried in the High Court.

On Nov 15 last year, Rosmah, 67, pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to two counts of soliciting RM187.5 million and receiving RM1.5 million for projects to provide solar energy to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

On the same day, Rizal Mansor, 46, pleaded not guilty to four counts of soliciting and accepting bribes for himself and Rosmah, amounting to RM5.5 million over the same project.

High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan yesterday allowed the prosecution’s application to jointly try Rosmah and Rizal, a former special officer to Najib Razak.

Zaini fixed a 32-day period for the joint trial, from Feb 3 to April 30.