Retrial of Najib’s SRC case virtually impossible, says lawyer

Salim Bashir said the former prime minister has exhausted the judicial process.

(FMT) – The door for Najib Razak to seek a retrial of his SRC International case is virtually closed, a senior lawyer said.

Salim Bashir said the former prime minister was convicted and sentenced after a full trial in the High Court and two appeals to the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, both of which affirmed the trial court’s decision.

“Moreover, Najib’s application to review the final verdict by another Federal Court was dismissed last year by a 4-1 majority ruling,” he said.

Salim said Najib, a former Umno president, also filed a petition for pardon before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong soon after the Federal Court’s verdict on Aug 23, 2022.

Last week, the Federal Territories Pardons Board announced that Najib had been given a remission of his sentence, with his 12-year jail term reduced to six, while the fine of RM210 million was brought down to RM50 million.

“Any attempt to request a retrial is virtually out of question as he had exhausted the entire judicial process. Retrial is usually ordered if an incurable error occurs, but the apex court has found none in the SRC case,” he said.

Salim, a former Bar president, was responding to calls for Umno to keep pushing for a rehearing of Najib’s case on grounds that he was denied a fair trial.

Prior to that, party vice-president Johari Ghani had called on the party to “move on” from the decision announced by the board on Friday.

Meanwhile, lawyer Bastian Pius Vendargon said Najib had gone to the pardons board after exhausting his legal remedies within the judicial system.

“He sought clemency and has obtained a remission,” he added.

The lawyer, however, said Najib could ask for a retrial if fresh and material evidence, not available during his trial and appeal hearings, emerges.

“He has to file for a review to state that his conviction is unsafe. Such an application also must fall within the strict review jurisdiction,” he added.

Vendargon, however, said Najib could make another application for a full pardon similar to the one obtained by then-de facto PKR president Anwar Ibrahim in 2018.