Bar disappointed that Adib inquest didn’t begin with due diligence

Bar disappointed that Adib inquest didn’t begin with due diligence

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar is disappointed that the Adib inquest proceeding did not begin with due diligence as it allowed lawyer Syazlin Mansor to act as both the counsel for the Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Fire Department.

“It is highly regrettable that no objections were raised at an earlier stage of the inquest proceedings, either by the Coroner or the Conducting Officer, once Syazlin Mansor was on record for the parties concerned,” said Malaysian Bar president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor in a statement today. 

He pointed that the instructed for Syazlin to withdraw at an advanced stage of the inquest had contributed to a negative perception by the public regarding the turn of events, he added.

“The unfavourable perception is further exacerbated by the earlier act of the Deputy Public Prosecutor in filing an affidavit that reportedly stated that the death of Muhammad Adib was not due to beatings by any person, when any findings relating to cause of death are in fact exclusively the prerogative of the Coroner in an inquest.”

“All parties concerned should have adopted a more prudent and cautious approach from the outset.  The failure to do so has led to unnecessary speculation and adverse perceptions.”

Fareed however agreed with Attorney General Tommy Thomas who claimed that Syazlin’s role in the inquest created conflict of interest.

“The seemingly common interest of various parties being represented by a single advocate and solicitor could potentially result in divergent or competing interests, and thus impair the ability of the advocate and solicitor to act in the best interest of the parties concerned.”

Fareed also elaborated on future scenarios that would put the government in Catch – 22 situations if Syazlin was allowed to represent the interests of the ministry, Fire Department and Adib’s family.

“One example is if, in the aftermath of the inquest, Muhammad Adib’s family files a civil suit against the Government. 

“As another example, if the inquest determines that the Government was responsible for Muhammad Adib’s death, the firefighter’s family has the right to commence legal action against the Government. 

“In both these situations, the evidence that had been tendered and led by Syazlin during the inquest — i.e. when she was simultaneously representing the Government and the family — could then be used during the subsequent legal proceedings, hence resulting in a clear case of conflict, as the various parties would then have opposing interests.”

Syazlin had quit from the ongoing inquest hearing.