Judge to rule June 15 if Lokman Adam guilty of contempt over intimidation of Najib 1MDB trial witness
(MMO) – Former Umno member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam should be found guilty of contempt of court as he seriously interfered with the administration of justice by asking for Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s ongoing trial over 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to be halted, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram argued today.
Sri Ram is the lead prosecutor of Najib’s 1MDB trial and is also acting for the prosecution in Lokman’s case.
In the High Court’s hearing this morning of contempt of court proceedings against Lokman, Sri Ram argued that Lokman should be found guilty of the offence of contempt as he had intimidated a prosecution witness in the 1MDB trial through his police report and remarks made in a video interview on September 25, 2019.
In arguing why Lokman should be found guilty of contempt of court, Sri Ram said that Lokman had been “virulent” in his attacks on prosecution witnesses in the 1MDB trial, with verbal attacks made against Najib’s former aide Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin and former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.
Sri Ram said that freedom of speech could not be used to justify the threatening of witnesses, also noting that Lokman had asked for Najib’s charges in the ongoing 1MDB trial to be dismissed.
“He (Lokman) relies on his right of freedom of speech. His right of freedom of speech does not include threatening my witnesses and attacking and asking the courts to dismiss the charges against the accused (Najib) because there is no case.
“I respectfully submit this is a proper case for Your Lordship to convict because there is abundant evidence on the statements made, there is intention to interfere with due administration of justice, an attempt to set aside the case before Your Lordship,” he told High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
Sequerah is the judge hearing both Lokman’s contempt of court case and Najib’s 1MDB trial.
Later in his arguments, Sri Ram pointed out that Lokman had in his September 2019 remarks asked the High Court to stop Najib’s 1MDB trial by claiming that it did not make sense for Najib to be tried as he was allegedly victimised (teraniaya).
“So he says ‘We now request all of Datuk Seri Najib’s trial to stop. The trial is ‘kes sampah’ (rubbish). The trial has proven that Najib is wrongly targeted while the actual person is Jho Low’,” Sri Ram quoted Lokman as having stated in September 2019.
“It’s not difficult to see what the target of these comments is, the target is the trial itself.
“This is our respectful submission, the facts disclosed admit a fair inference that the respondent (Lokman) intended to interfere with the administration of justice. This is fortified by his other statements in the same interview. He says this is why I request the case to be aborted, do not waste too much of the rakyat’s money, so his target is the trial,” Sri Ram said.
“On the facts before Your Lordship, I think there is no other inference admissible except that the accused (Lokman) intended the trial be stopped,” Sri Ram said, adding that in other words that Lokman had meant that the accused Najib is innocent and should be acquitted in the 1MDB trial.
“So he’s asking the court to prejudge the case without hearing all the evidence. That in our respectful submission is a serious interference of the administration of justice,” he said.
“So in our respectful submission, the defence mounted this morning does not answer the charge and therefore we respectfully invite Your Lordship to convict the respondent (Lokman) of the offence of contempt,” he said.
After hearing the contempt of court proceedings, High Court judge Sequerah said he would deliver his decision on June 15 on whether Lokman had committed the offence of contempt of court.