AG: Sri Ram’s appointment a lawyer-client privilege

KUALA LUMPUR: The appointment of Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as a lead prosecutor by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) is a matter of lawyer and client privilege, the High Court heard.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas said as a matter of privilege, a litigant had no legal right under the Malaysian law to view the letter of appointment.

That, he said, was clearly a privileged document between client and counsel.

“It contained secret and confidential terms that is not meant to be viewed by third parties.

“The applicant has no legal, equitable (and) enforceable right under the law to demand the letter of the appointment,” he said yesterday.

Thomas was making his submission before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah in a hearing for an application by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who is seeking to recuse Sri Ram from leading the prosecution in his 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case.

He said the prosecution would be handicapped if it was not allowed to appoint its choice of prosecutors.

“The government is entitled to the best legal talent in the country and the best legal talent may not be limited to the AGC,” he said.

Sri Ram, added Thomas, had appeared on numerous occasions in court on behalf of the public prosecutor and his capacity was never disputed by the AGC. The hearing will continue on Feb 28.

On Aug 31 last year, Thomas had announ­ced the appointment of Sri Ram, a retired Federal Court judge, as senior deputy public prosecutor to lead the prosecution against the former prime minister’s 1MDB case as well as other related proceedings.

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