KOTA KINABALU: A senior peninsula lawyer's bid to be admitted into the Sabah bar to represent 21 Filipino nationals involved in the Lahad Datu Sulu intrusion has been dismissed by the Kota Kinabalu High Court.
In dismissing the ad-hoc application by counsel Datuk Sivanathan Nityanantham, Justice Chew Soo Ho held that the application did not comply with Section 10(c) and Section 10(3) of the Sabah Advocates Ordinance 1953.
Justice Chew, however, dismissed the application with the liberty to reapply.
Sivanathan's ad-hoc admission was objected by the Sabah Law Association (SLA), represented by counsel Catherine Chau.
Chau told the court that it was not the association's policy to object to such ad-hoc applications provided they complied with the Ordinance and other guidelines.
She said the SLA was objecting to the ad-hoc application by Sivanathan who appeared to be handling too many cases.
"The logistics involved in one counsel handling so many cases would be overwhelming," Chau said.
"It is not in the interest of justice to allow one leading counsel assisted by a local advocate to monopolise and handle numerous cases even though joint trials may be ordered for some of these cases," she added.
According to Chau, Sivanathan was to appear as counsel for the Filipino nationals, as determined by the Philippines Embassy, when they were charged in court for the various offences relating to the Lahad Datu incursion.
She noted that Sivanathan, who was represented by counsel James Tsai, was making a single application for an ad hoc admission not only for the existing cases, but for other similar cases yet to be brought to court.
Chau argued that Section 10(c) of the Ordinance stipulated that an application had to be made separately for each case.
In submitting the application earlier, Tsai told the court that Sivanathan was a fit and proper person to be allowed the ad hoc admission due to his extensive experience and specialised knowledge in criminal litigation locally and at the International Criminal Court.
Tsai said he had approached six local senior counsel for their services but all of them had turned him down.
He said 21 Filipino nationals had so far been charged with waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as well as for terrorism and recruiting people to participate in terrorist acts.
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