MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, August 19, 2022

Bar Council Blasts "Abuse Of Process, Disrepute To Our Justice System", To Take Disciplinary Action Against "Unprofessional" Lawyers

  • In the short four weeks since we were engaged
  • we painstakingly perused relevant appeal records
  • reviewed substantial affidavits
  • carried out extensive research on the law
  • prepared the final response affidavits and 
  • filed extensive written submissions
  • Datuk Zaid Ibrahim Press Rlease


Before we read the Bar Council's devastating Press Statement (of today, Friday 19 Aug, 2022), here is a Press Statement also issued today, by  Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, the recently fired legal counsel for Najib. This is not the full statement (its too long) but it is relevant enough. My comments in blue.  

19 August 2022

numerous queries from media why my law firm discharged by Najib 

the lawyers in my team both from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore

(OSTB : So there were many, many lawyers working on this appeal. Even lawyers from Singapore. Hold this point in mind ok).

  • me and my Firm('s) view Najib’s case called for new approach, fresh perspectives. 
  • required him to abandon unnecessarily vitriolic matters 
  • and personal attacks on Justice Nazlan 

(OSTB :  In other words the previous legal stance had obviously been unnecessarily vitriolic and included personal attacks on the presiding Judge. And then Najib formally withdrew that accusation against the Judge. In common parlance that would be called 'egg on your face'.)

  • I consulted my friend and colleague in Singapore, Niru Pillai of Niru & Co LLC. 
  • Niru can bring added value, different perspectives to any difficult cases
  • Niru put together a team in his Firm to assist ZIST.
  • Niru’s vast network in the Indian legal profession
  • Niru sought 2 Senior Advocates, Sidharth Luthra and Kavin Gulati.
  • the Indian Legal Team put together with Rony John, Avi Tandon assisting
  • a great team, I can confirm Najib was extremely pleased with its work

(OSTB : So there were more and more lawyers in the team : the KL team of lawyers, the Singapore team and now also an Indian team. Wow!! Just curious - what was the legal fees involved?) 

Then here comes this very simple and honest statement :

  • In the short four weeks since we were engaged
  • we painstakingly perused relevant appeal records
  • reviewed substantial affidavits
  • carried out extensive research on the law
  • prepared the final response affidavits and 
  • filed extensive written submissions. 

This was a monumental and herculean task on its own, given the short period within which we had to be ready

(OSTB :  So they had already achieved a monumental and herculean task. Extensive legal research was done, final response affidavits were prepared and the written submissions had already been filed. All within FOUR WEEKS. Then why keep asking the Court for the postponement?  

Plus here is another Richter 8 for us the lay people : since a written submission had already been filed, the Federal Court can and will rely on the written submissions to arrive at its decision).

We even prepared fresh motion to seek a Review of the Federal Court’s decision. . 
We are more than satisfied that we have done our utmost best for Najib.

(OSTB : Indeed it was a well accomplished job. All completed in FOUR weeks,  assisted by teams of lawyers from KL, Singapore and India.   Then why keep asking the Court for the postponement? )

I did not know that lawyers in criminal cases must get permission from the courts to discharge themselves, which I believe is a startling new legal proposition. 

(OSTB : The President of the Bar Council has answered this point below - plus others).

I will always fight for justice, whether for the ordinary man or for the King.

(OSTB : The King? What has he done? Just kidding. Ampun Tuanku.)

Now here is the Press Release by the President of the Malaysian Bar Council. Again my comments in blue.



Press Release | Abuse of Process Brings Disrepute to Our Justice System 

19 Aug 2022

The Malaysian Bar is aghast with the slew of developments unfolding before our eyes in the case involving former Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib Razak, at the Federal Court.

The nation is witnessing our justice system being abused and brought to disrepute through the frantic acts and numerous attempts to postpone the hearing of the case, 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 Zaid Ibrahim, Liew Teck Huat and Rueben Mathiavaranam, by Dato’ Sri Najib Razak.

The public must be made aware that the level of professionalism expected of advocates and solicitors is measured against the existing rules on practice and etiquette.  The Bar Council expects adherence by all lawyers so as to preserve the highest professional standards and in upholding the dignity of the legal profession.  The Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978 (“LPPER”) sets the barometer for the conduct of lawyers in the country and also reflects the underlying paramount duty of lawyers to the court as officers of the court.

The Malaysian Bar takes the position that when a new lawyer takes over a case, the lawyer must adhere to Rule 6(a) of the LPPER which 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; and 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.  Read together, both rules clearly indicate that a lawyer must address his/her mind and assess that he/she is able to proceed with the case before deciding if he/she can take on the matter.  The underlying paramount duty to the court, respect for the administration of justice, and upholding of the dignity of the legal profession, are imbedded and should be deeply rooted in all lawyers.

Whilst the former Prime Minister is entitled to appoint new lawyers to take over a case for whatever reasons, he takes the risk of facing the possibility that the court would not necessarily allow any requests for postponement because a lawyer who takes over the case must be in a position to proceed with any prior dates that have been fixed by the court.  By the same token, the client that discharges his/her lawyer or a lawyer who seeks to be discharged from representing his/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.

(OSTB : So it is NOT automatic. The Court must give its consent.)

The various attempts to undermine the justice system through such unscrupulous strategies are a perversion of our justice system and an abuse of the court process.  The advocates and solicitors involved in such acts have conducted themselves unprofessionally and would have to face disciplinary action.

(OSTB :   .. have conducted themselves unprofessionally and would have to face disciplinary action..  Oh Oh! Looks like you're in trouble.)

It has been observed that Dato’ Sri Najib Razak has abruptly discharged his legal team again today, making it the second time he is resorting to such tactics.  The decision to change lawyers so late at this stage was his.  Therefore, any purported injustice he claims himself to be in, if any, is surely self-inflicted.  His expectations of a fair trial, of which has been fully accorded to him at all material times, must also mean that he places himself in the judicial system without any crafty schemes — especially if he truly values his right to liberty.  What is apparent is that there have been no convincing reasons given for such discharge twice, either so near to the hearing dates or even during hearing of the matter at the Federal Court.  Such hearing dates were not only fixed well in advance, but publicly publicised.  Any attempt to change the narrative to one of purported victimisation is highly mischievous.

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.

Karen Cheah Yee Lynn
Malaysian Bar

19 August 2022

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.