KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 11): Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah, the presiding judge in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd-Tanore (1MDB-Tanore) trial, has warned the defence that there will no longer be any reserved cross-examination of any witnesses as the trial has been pending for some time now.
He said this when defence counsel Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed asked for the cross-examination of the prosecution's 40th witness, former managing director at AmInvestment Bank Bhd Kok Tuck Cheong, to be reserved.
Wan Aizuddin informed the court that lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah would be conducting the cross-examination, but the senior lawyer was engaged with another case.
To this, Sequerah said that he has been accommodating to the counsels' schedules and reserved questioning of witnesses as much as he can.
However, moving forward, if the lead counsel was not around, Wan Aizuddin would have to conduct the cross-examination. Otherwise, the judge said, he would take it that cross-examination was done and move on to re-examination of the witness.
"This trial has been going on in instalments.... I have accommodated as much as I can. I cannot go beyond that. In future, if Tan Sri [Muhammad] Shafee is not available, Encik Wan [Aizuddin] you have to step up," he said.
The High Court judge also said that Wan Aizuddin was fully capable of handling the cross-examination as he was familiar with the facts of the case.
"After this there will be no more reserving [of] the witness. What do we do from now until afternoon? I'm going to lose a few hours," Sequerah said.
He added: "In future, if Tan Sri [Muhammad] Shafee is not available [and there is no one to conduct cross-examination,] I will take it as cross-examination is done and continue with re-examination."
Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram then interjected, saying that there were still a few witnesses who have yet to be cross-examined.
The former Federal Court judge added that he too had many pending trials but had asked the presiding judges to make adjustments to the schedule.
Wan Aizuddin took note of Sequerah's warning but said that he was not prepared to cross-examine the witness at this juncture.
Kok had just completed his testimony regarding the RM5 billion Islamic medium-term notes (IMTN) by Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), 1MDB's predecessor.
Sequerah had also voiced similar concerns last week when he was informed that the trial may have to be adjourned as Shafee was engaged in other cases on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The judge said the trial has been delayed for a while now and although he acknowledged that Shafee had other commitments, the court also was committed to finish the trial at hand.
The hearing will continue at 2.30pm on Tuesday afternoon.
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