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EXCLUSIVE | Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s SRC International trial involving RM42 million was a lengthy court process, taking over four years from charging to jail.

Former attorney-general Tommy Thomas, who initiated the proceedings, comments on the court process and some ways to speed it up in this second part of an exclusive interview.

Malaysiakini: Looking back, do you think that the court bent backwards for Najib - considering the time it took for the case to complete and the kind of objections raised by the defence, there seems to be more leeway than given to an ordinary person?

Tommy Thomas: Well, I would answer it this way. I have considerable trial experience but always on the civil side, and when you do large trials, that means three or four weeks or more, we always say we want it to be completed in one go.

So, if it was a four-week trial, give us one month, Monday to Friday every week, the whole month, and civil judges tried to accommodate that.

I said to (trial judge) Justice (Mohd) Nazlan (Mohd Ghazali) [to do it in one go], and the reason is very simple - because it is much more efficient for lawyers on both sides and for the court to focus on one case for four weeks, five weeks, two months or three months: it is much more efficient.

Of course, (Najib’s lawyer Muhammad) Shafee (Abdullah) objected, saying it never happened like that in criminal courts. But justice Nazlan did not deal with my request. The effect was, as you know, the trial was done in phases.

So you get two weeks, then break, then three days, then break, and I think the trial lasted 50 or 60 days, spanning two years.

Elsewhere in the world, in the Roger Ng trial, which happened in the US, it was...

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