KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — The Malaysian Bar has today recommended disciplinary action against certain lawyers who were or are part of the ongoing Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s final appeal in the SRC International court case.
Without naming the lawyers, Bar President Karen Cheah Yee Lynn said that the lawyers have conducted themselves "unprofessionally” during the case, which has seen a series of twists and turns.
"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,” she said in a statement.
"The advocates and solicitors involved in such acts have conducted themselves unprofessionally and would have to face disciplinary action."
Cheah stressed that lawyers are expected to uphold the dignity of the legal profession and adhere to the highest professional standards as set under the the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978 (LPPER).
"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.
"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.
She also said that it is "not an automatic entitlement” for clients to discharge their lawyers, or for lawyers to discharge themselves — and that the decision to allow such a move is ultimately up to the courts.
Yesterday, Najib’s lead counsel, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik applied to discharge himself if the Federal Court refused to defer hearing the final appeal against the former prime minister’s conviction of misappropriating funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd.
However, Hisyam’s application was rejected by the panel of five judges led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.
Hisyam has since put on record that he will not be filing any submissions to defend the case.
Additionally, today, Datuk Seri Najib discharged the law firm Zaid Ibrahim Sufian TH Liew & Partners from acting as his solicitors.
This is the second time Najib has abruptly discharged his legal team since the start of the SRC International trial, having previously dropped his counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and the rest of his defence team on July 25.