After 'unprecedented' $303m fine and prison sentence, appeal will be next step for Rosmah's defence team

Rosmah Mansor leaves the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex on Sept 1, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - The defence team for Rosmah Mansor, wife of former Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak, will be appealing against her High Court conviction and sentence of 10 years in jail with a RM970 million (S$303 million) fine, said her lawyers after the sentencing on Thursday.

Rosmah's lawyer, Mr Jagjit Singh, said the appeal would be filed "maybe tomorrow" and estimated the appeal process could take up to six months.

"The fine and jail sentence imposed have been suspended and our client has been released on bail. She is able to go home and be with her family members," he told reporters after the trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Thursday.

"The fine imposed is unprecedented, the largest in Malaysian legal history," he told reporters outside court. "Now our client has to come up with nearly RM1 billion, and she doesn't have a source of income."

Rosmah, whose graft conviction came just over a week after her husband was jailed for corruption, has two higher courts to appeal against the verdict.

Litigation lawyer Daljit Singh told Malaysian daily The Star that the defence team would have 14 days to file the Notice of Appeal unless a time extension is allowed by the Court.

"Appeals at the Court of Appeal will be faster than trials at the High Court, as witnesses will no longer be called," he added.

Rosmah's former counsel, Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent, said the appeal would give Rosmah a chance to bring up issues that were not considered by the trial judge.

These, he said, included the issue of the alleged "leaked judgment" document.

Earlier on Thursday, Rosmah had failed in her application to get Justice Zaini Mazlan recused from the case, arguing that a research paper prepared by court officials which was leaked online last week compromised the court and the judge's integrity in delivering the verdict.

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"The appeal is an opportunity for Rosmah to bring up various issues that were not adequately considered during trial," Mr Geethan said, adding that appeals would generally be heard within six months.

However, another lawyer, Mr Sankara Nair, said it was too early to say how long the appeal process would take.

"It's premature to predict," he said.

Rosmah, 70, was found guilty by Malaysia's High Court of soliciting RM194 million in bribes to help solar energy firm Jepak Holdings secure a RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project for hundreds of schools in Sarawak in 2016. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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