Final SRC appeal: Najib’s decision to discharge legal team an act of self-inflicted injustice, says Malaysian Bar

PETALING JAYA: The justice system in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC International case is being abused and brought to disrepute, says the Malaysian Bar.

Its president Karen Cheah Yee Lynn said that this is through the frantic acts and numerous attempts to postpone the hearing; the application to discharge from acting for the former prime minister; defiance by refusing to proceed with submissions on the appeal after the Federal Court had made its ruling; and the sudden discharge of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, Liew Teck Huat and Rueben Mathiavaranam by Najib.

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Cheah said attempts to undermine the justice system through unscrupulous strategies are a perversion of the justice system and an abuse of the court process.

“The advocates and solicitors involved in such acts would have to face disciplinary action,” she said in a statement on Friday (Aug 19).

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Cheah said a lawyer must examine his mind and assess that he is able to proceed with a case before deciding to take it.

“Rule 6(a) of the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978 (LPPER) states that an advocate and solicitor shall not accept any brief unless he is reasonably certain of being able to appear and represent the client on the hearing dates fixed by the court.

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“The new lawyer must also adhere to Rule 24(a) of the LPPER, which provides that an advocate and solicitor shall make every effort to be ready for trial on the day fixed,” she said.

Cheah said while Najib was entitled to appoint new lawyers to take over his case, he should have known the risk that the court may not necessarily allow any requests for postponement of the hearing.

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“By the same token, the client that discharges his or her lawyer or a lawyer who seeks to be discharged from representing his or her client, is still subject to the overall control and discretion of the court whether to allow such discharge.

“Simply put, it is not an automatic entitlement,” she added.

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She said Najib’s decision to discharge his legal team for the second time on Friday (Aug 19), at the very last minute, was an act of self-inflicted injustice.

“The Malaysian Bar notes that there have been vicious and unwarranted attacks or threats levelled on the judiciary and the Chief Justice as a result of the unfolding events at the Federal Court in this case, and wholly condemns the unfair anti-judiciary rhetoric and sentiments painted by irresponsible parties.

“The Malaysian Bar stands in solidarity with the judiciary and calls on them to remain resolute and not succumb to such unsavoury pressure,” she said.

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