PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court denies Hisyam Teh Poh Teik's oral application to discharge himself as the lead counsel for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the SRC International Sdn Bhd appeal.
After more than an hour of deliberation, the five-member panel returned to the court room to give its decision on Hisyam's application here on Thursday (Aug 18) morning.
"We have taken some time to deliberate because of the ramifications," Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said.
The panel noted that the court has a responsibility to protect the rights of the accused persons within the judicial system.
Where the withdrawal of counsel interferes with the efficiency and proper functioning of the court, the court has the discretionary authority to deny the application to discharge, the Chief Justice said.
The second principle for consideration was that the counsel may discharge upon showing adequate reason to discharge.
"We are of the unanimous view that in the present factual matrix, counsel (Hisyam) has failed to disclose adequate cause.
"Therefore, the application to discharge is refused and counsel remains on record in the interest of justice," the top judge said.
She then asked Hisyam if he wanted to submit anything further, to which Hisyam said, "no".
CJ: Can you confirm if you don’t have anything to say on the 94 grounds of his (Najib) petition of appeal?
Hisyam: I've got nothing to say.
When asked if the defence was relying on its submissions from the Court of Appeal in relation to the findings of the High Court, Hisyam answered in the affirmative.
"As this appeal is a matter of public interest, we will invite the public prosecutor to submit first with the view of providing the appellant with more time to prepare for this appeal," the CJ said.
The appeal proper begins with lead prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram making his arguments.