Federal Court bars Hisyam from discharging himself as Najib’s lawyer

The Federal Court has disallowed lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik from discharging himself as Najib’s Razak’s counsel in the former prime minister’s SRC International appeal.

(FMT) – Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said the court was of the unanimous view that Hisyam “failed to disclose adequate reasons” to justify his recusal bid.

Other judges sitting with her are Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim as well as Federal Court judges Nallini Pathmanathan, Mary Lim and Zabidin Mohamad Diah.

“Therefore, the application to discharge is refused and counsel (Hisyam) remains on record in the interest of justice,” Tengku Maimun said.

Earlier, in a bid to seek another adjournment, Hisyam told the court that he did not have enough time to prepare for the case.

On Tuesday the defence requested “three to four months” for them to prepare their case as Hisyam and his team members were only appointed last month.

However, the court rejected the postponement bid, saying that the appeal needed to go on.

The court had fixed Aug 15 to 26 to hear Najib’s appeal in his bid to quash his conviction for abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust over SRC funds amounting to RM42 million.

His conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal on Dec 8 last year, as was his 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine.

Tengku Maimun asked Hisyam if the defence would be relying on written submissions – filed by former lawyers (Shafee Abdullah, Harvinderjit Singh) before the lower courts – for the purposes of today’s hearing.

Hisyam responded in the affirmative.

The court then asked ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram to begin his argument.

“We would like to invite the prosecution to submit first, with the view to provide the appellant (Najib) with more time to prepare for his case,” Tengku Maimun added.