KUALA LUMPUR: Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s defense team told the High Court today there is a risk of bias on the part of Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan if he continues to hear Rosmah’s case due to the existence of a ‘purported draft judgment’.
Rosmah’s counsel Datuk Jagjit Singh said even though they have full confidence that the judge would not be influenced by the purported leaked judgment, the risk of bias still exists.
He submitted that trial judges must be able to discharge their duties impartially, free from outside influence.
He said the purported draft judgment was prepared by an individual, or more than one person, who had no authority.
“Hence, how can the prosecution say that this allegation (purported draft judgment) is hearsay?” he said.
Jagjit submitted that the prosecution claimed the purported draft judgment is a piece of research and challenged the recusal application by claiming it was made on evidence that was based on hearsay.
He said there was a police report and the leak was being investigated by Sentul police, adding that the Federal Court registrar also wanted the matter to be investigated.
“A trial judge must be able to deliver decisions without improper influence direct or indirect from any other source. The leaked document was prepared by more than one person.
“The leaked document is disturbing when it appeared on social media. But it has come out; we cannot hide it under a coconut shell. The leaked documents were not the actual written judgment against Rosmah, but copies of a write-up by the research unit of the Kuala Lumpur High Court,” he said.
Jagjit said two posts on Malaysia Today were widely shared on social media and have found their way onto the length and breadth of the country.
Jagjit claimed that dark clouds have descended on the judiciary since Aug 23, 2022, when a judgment in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd case was allegedly leaked before the Federal Court pronounced its verdict.
He said this was similar to what happened in 1988, referring to the removal of the then Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas, historically known as the judicial crisis.
Jagjit then referred to the two documents (judgment) which he claimed were prepared by somebody else.
Mohamed Zaini: Since you want to call a spade a (piece of) garden equipment, let’s just get to the point. What do you call these documents?
Jagjit: To put it bluntly and simply, it has been prepared at the request and behest of someone of authority.
Mohamed Zaini: Answer my question. What do you call these two documents?
Jagjit: I cannot label them but they are incriminating.
Mohamed Zaini: What do you call your submission? What is the aim of your written submission?
Jagjit: To persuade your lordship. But this (the document) cannot persuade your lordship because you have to make an independent mind.
The judge then asked again what the documents were, and Jagjit said he could not answer.
Mohamed Zaini: It is in your affidavit; you say it (the document) is my judgment. Having heard you now, I’m confused. Are you saying this is a draft judgment prepared for me?
Mohamed Zaini: I’m glad we can clarify that. Do you see these two documents as opinion or a draft judgment?
Jagjit: To me it doesn’t seem like an opinion but it is a draft judgment written by a third party.
Mohamed Zaini: Are you insinuating that I would therefore use the draft judgment (in my decision)?
Jagjit: That’s where the real danger of bias comes in … the perception.
Mohamed Zaini: I think I understand where your angle is.
Meanwhile, lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram submitted that Malaysia Today – the website which carried the so-called leaked judgment – was not a credible source.
He said the writer of the articles (on the website) is a fugitive hiding somewhere in the United Kingdom.
“He is a rogue journalist. His views alter according to how much he is paid. Even if your lordship requested for the opinion written by the research unit, even if you had gone through it and do your judgment, it would have been perfectly ordinary,” he said.
Sri Ram, who is a former Federal Court judge, shared that during his time, the Chief Justice then had suggested for him to have his own research team, but he rejected the idea.
“But that’s just my way. Each judge has his own way,” he said and asked the court to dismiss the application.
Judge Mohamed Zaini will deliver his decision on the application after the lunch break.
Rosmah, 70, filed the last-minute application on the grounds of a purported leaked judgment of her case which was prepared by another party that was viraled by the mass and electronic media last Aug 26.