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Federal Court rejects bid by Najib's lawyer to discharge himself

The five-man bench led by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat says Hisyam Teh Poh Teik failed to disclose adequate cause.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
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Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik. Photo: Bernama
Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik. Photo: Bernama

The Federal Court has rejected the bid by Najib Razak's lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik to discharge himself from representing the former prime minister in his final appeal against his conviction and sentence in the SRC International case. 

The five-man bench led by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat unanimously denied Hisyam's request. 

"We are of the unanimous view that in the present factual matrix, the counsel has failed to disclose adequate cause.

"Therefore, the application to discharge is refused and counsel remains on record in the interest of justice," Tengku Maimun said.

When asked if he wished to submit further, and to confirm if he had nothing to say about the 94 grounds in Najib's petition of appeal, Hisyam said no. 

Tengku Maimun: So are you relying on the submissions from the Court of Appeal in relation to the findings of the High Court?

Hisyam: I have nothing to say.

The chief justice then ordered the prosecution led by ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaran to submit.

Hisyam, who was appointed by Najib as his new lead counsel on July 26 to replace Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, had sought to recuse himself from representing the former prime minister, saying he needed more time as he was not prepared for the case.

On July 28, 2020, then High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Ghazali, who is now a Court of Appeal judge, sentenced Najib to 12 years in jail and fined him RM210 million after finding him guilty of seven counts of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power. 

Najib's conviction and sentence were upheld by the Court of Appeal last year.