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Hisyam seeks to discharge himself as Najib’s lead counsel

Hisyam seeks to discharge himself as Najib’s lead counsel

PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd appeal today took a dramatic turn as lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik sought to recuse himself from representing the former prime minister.

He said that he needed more time as he was not prepared for the case.

Hisyam who was appointed by Najib as his new lead counsel on July 26, replacing Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, informed the matter before Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who chaired a five-member panel on the first day of Najib’s appeal.

To this, Justice Tengku Maimun countered that as a counsel, Hisyam should not walk away and should carry his duty to repersent his client.

The others judges on the panel are Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judges Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd.

Justice Tengku Maimun told Hisyam that the bench had heard his request for a postponement on Tuesday and had given their grounds on why they rejected his application.

“We reiterate that we have given the broad grounds. Are you aware that as a superior court we have the inherent jurisdiction to administer justice, and that our jurisdiction is to ensure that the court functions?”

“Do you accept that? Your client will be unrepresented. If you discharge (yourself), you will leave him unrepresented. Do you accept that?” asked the top judge sternly.

Hisyam answered that he accepted everything Justice Tengku Maimun was saying.

“.., but under the circumstances I cannot continue to represent Datuk Seri Najib,” he said.

Justice Tengku Maimun replied: “But you still need our permission to discharge yourself. You should have filed an affidavit first. Counsels should not just walk away without telling the court.

“In our mind, you can handle the case and you have many counsels available,” she said before calling for a short stand down to decide on the matter.

The court had on Tuesday dismissed Najib’s application to postpone the appeal hearing and directed the proceedings to proceed today.

The court also denied the Pekan MP’s bid to adduce new evidence in his SRC case to nullify the trial.

The hearing of the appeal has been fixed from Aug 15 to 19 and Aug 23 to 26. – Bernama