Zahid Hamidi - Photo via Blogspot

KUALA LUMPUR — The High Court hearing Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial has dismissed the prosecution’s attempt to expunge 15 paragraphs in a witness statement tendered by a defence witness.

Trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, however, only ordered the removal of the whole of paragraph 18 and the last sentence in both paragraphs 17 and 22 from the witness statement of Fadzlette Othman Merican.

The judge said the affected paragraphs were aimed at injuring the character of key prosecution witness Major Mazlina Mazlan@Ramly.

“The rest relate to matters that are relevant to the facts and issue of the case,” he said.

Fadzlette’s witness statement contains 34 paragraphs. The prosecution had attempted to expunge paragraphs 16 to 30 in their entirety.

To save time, Sequerah said he would allow the witness statements of another three defence witnesses to be admitted without prejudice to the prosecution.

He said the prosecution could submit on the relevancy and admissibility of evidence at the close of the defence case pursuant to Section 153 of the Evidence Act.

Yesterday, lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik submitted that Zahid would be deprived of a fair trial if the court accepted the prosecution’s argument and stopped Fadzlette from testifying.

Fadzlette was press secretary to Zahid when he was in public office between 2011 and 2018.

Hisyam said Zahid would not be able to put up an effective defence to rebut the prosecution’s case and this would deprive the accused of a fair trial.

He also said the defence only intended to admit Fedzlette’s witness statement to contradict the testimony of Mazlina.

Mazlina was Zahid’s former executive secretary and worked for him when he was the home minister and deputy prime minister between 2013 and 2018.

The prosecution had relied on Mazlina’s evidence to establish a prima facie case against Zahid on 12 criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges.

Deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran submitted that parts of Fadzlette’s witness statement about Mazlina were irrelevant and inadmissible as they were aimed at shaking her credibility.

Zahid, who is the Umno president, is standing trial on charges of money laundering and CBT involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi and for accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as home minister.

Twenty-seven charges are for money laundering and another eight are for corruption.

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