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BOTH unanimous decisions of the Federal Court in dismissing the two applications of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case are sound.

On the first decision, it is settled law that new or additional evidence is generally not allowed on appeal. An appeal must be decided on the evidence which was before the trial court. Therefore, the power in an appellate court to call for additional evidence must be exercised judiciously and not capriciously or arbitrarily having regards to the justice of the case.

Not only must the circumstances be most exceptional, the subject which is proposed to be adduced by further evidence must also be subject to exceptional conditions.

It is entirely the discretion of the appellate court.

It is also the discretion of the court whether to allow or not an application for the postponement of a case which has been set down for hearing. In the exercise of the discretion, the court is entitled to consider the effect of an adjournment on court resources and the competing claims by litigants in other cases awaiting hearing in the court as well as the interests of the parties.

It has long been recognised by the courts that the resolution of disputes serves the public as a whole, not merely the parties to the proceedings. Adjournments delay final adjudication of cases. Costs are incurred. Delay and costs are undesirable, and delays have deleterious effects.

As Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat puts it succinctly, justice delayed in the SRC International case is also justice denied to other accused persons.

The decisions are a double blow to Najib. But they are also a double hit on justice, and public confidence in the courts.

We should therefore put our hands together and pray along with Datuk Prof Emeritus Dr Hashim Yaacob that the panel of five judges led by the Chief Justice stay firm on doing justice in the SRC International case.

(This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of BebasNews)

— BebasNews

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