Why can’t Najib’s case go ‘live’ when Beng Hock’s inquest could?

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Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah arrived at the court for the trial of the case involving Najib and SRC International Sdn Bhd at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex. PIX: FAREEZ FADZIL, 22 APRIL 2019, Malaysia Gazette
Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah arrived at the court for the trial of the case involving Najib and SRC International Sdn Bhd at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex. PIX: FAREEZ FADZIL, 22 APRIL 2019, Malaysia Gazette

By Kasthuri Jeevendran

KUALA LUMPUR – As expected, the viral closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s court proceedings last Thursday was raised during his trial today.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaran said, the widely distributed footage had caused circus-like-fuss.

According to him, the Court Recording Transcription (CRT) should not be uploaded into the social media, especially when the recording was only handed to certain people, including the prosecution and the defence.

“Prior to obtaining the copy of these recordings, the stakeholders must also give their ‘promises’ to never copy, distribute or upload the recordings.

“The action of uploading has tarnished the integrity of the proceedings which is still ongoing. It is now like a ‘circus’ as everyone is giving their opinion openly and making their own assumptions. That is not right.

“Therefore, we would like to apply to the court that the recordings of the trial should not be uploaded in the social media,” he said before Judge Mohd. Nazlan.

Nevertheless, lead counsel for Najib, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah rose and questioned the trial for not being conducted in an open manner as it would provide a chance for all Malaysians to witness the trial.

Quoting cases in Malaysia and abroad, he said, live telecasts of trials are permitted thus, why is this case not allowed to go live.

“For instance, the death of Teoh Beng Hock which involved the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), there were allegations where the late Beng Hock was thrown out of the window and such.

“What happened in the end? The Royal Commission of Inquiry permitted the inquest to be broadcasted to the public. Why was that allowed? How about the high profile case of the American football start, OJ Simpson?

“It was shown to the public. Why is the ‘worst’ case in the world not being given the opportunity for public viewing? Let everyone watch!”

“I was also told that there is a video room available here, but it cannot fill everyone who wish to follow the trial. The video room is just nearby.

“Therefore, why don’t we give the same opportunity to all Malaysians out there to watch the trial. To those who cannot make it to the court, they can watch it through live telecast, why not?” he emphasized.

Last Friday, a CCTV footage of Najib’s trial which entered the fifth day of proceedings went viral when his former special aide, Isham Jalil uploaded a 12 seconds clip entitled ‘The Fifth Day of Datuk Seri Najib’s Trial’ which featured Muhammad Shafee questioning the witness of the case. –MalaysiaGazette

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