Let’s put it this way, it simply is not done. Having been put firmly in his place by the Court of Appeal last week after he tried to further delay their ruling on his client’s case (the client being Najib) Malaysia’s most controversial lawyer took to the public soap box yesterday to try all over again.
In short, the extraordinary showman (who has succeeded in pausing corruption charges against himself as he defends his ‘special’ client) started attempting to bulldoze a climbdown by the Appeal Court judges by using the court of public opinion as his weapon.
“He ought to be disbarred immediately”, “Clear contempt”, sniffed foreign and domestic legal observers alike, as undeterred by the conventional rules of the game the rogue lawyer called a press conference to announce he now has a new reason for demanding the court delay their ruling on December 8th.
The first had been so that Najib could holiday longer in Singapore (after having himself delayed the permitted trip so that he could front an election campaign in Malacca).
This having been rejected, Shafee now told assembled journalists that some seventeen months after the original appeal was lodged he had suddenly discovered new evidence he claimed was relevant. Evidence that he darkly suggested had been withheld by various authorities to supposedly undermine his client’s case. He then made tendentious claims about the return of monies from 1MDB that were made to the Singapore authorities which everyone has known about for ages.
Naturally, Najib was soon posting the outrageous performance on his personal Facebook account, as the gambit to politicise the legal proceedings took shape.
Shafee, like his boss, has persistently got away with acting outside the rules. Yet even for such a pair this was clearly a low point that will have dragged Malaysia’s reputation concerning the rule of law further through the mud, if only for his having got away with not being censured.
Why was this separate repayment story relevant to Najib’s own guilt in the matter, reporters asked? Because, Shafee only too candidly replied, “If we had known I could have made something of it!”.
Indeed, there is little doubt the gold Bentley driving lawyer would have made something of it. He has shown himself capable of stringing any matter out for weeks and months when allowed to get away with it, as he has with every other possible distraction or excuse that he could possibly find to test the patience of the courts. He carried on:
“We are offering you reasons why we made this application because as you can appreciate people like Sarawak Report think that because I ask for the case to be relegated to just a few days later so that my client can return from Singapore the Sarawak Report says I was manoeuvring a delay of the judgement … so I don’t want you guys to think I am manoeuvring a delay of the judgement, I am not”.