Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Zaid praises lead counsel Hisyam’s ‘passion’, ‘honesty’, slams ‘flippant’ detractors

Zaid praises lead counsel Hisyam’s ‘passion’, ‘honesty’, slams ‘flippant’ detractors

Senior lawyer Zaid Ibrahim was fulsome in his praise for Najib Razak’s lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik after the two-day hearing in the Federal Court yesterday. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Senior lawyer Zaid Ibrahim yesterday was effusive in his praise for Najib Razak’s recently appointed lead counsel, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik.

“I am very happy, very proud of Hisham,” said Zaid, whose law firm is representing Najib in his final appeal to the Federal Court from his conviction and sentence in his SRC International corruption case.

“I have never seen in my years as a lawyer, a defence counsel so passionate, so forceful, so believing in the cause but, of course, to no avail,” he said. “I know he is an honest lawyer, and we can tell an honest lawyer from a dishonest one.”

The former law minister was speaking to the press after the apex court dismissed Najib’s application to adduce fresh evidence to prove that trial judge Nazlan Ghazali was under a serious conflict of interest when presiding over the SRC trial two years ago.

Hisyam Teh Poh Teik.

Zaid also commiserated with the former prime minister on the setback he suffered but vowed to stay the course.

Addressing his client, he said: “My full sympathy to Datuk Seri Najib and family, but justice is a long road. Sometimes, if you can’t get it here, you can get it elsewhere.

“We’ll do what we can (despite) all the constraints we have.”

He also lamented the disrespect he has had to endure for taking up Najib’s cause at the eleventh hour.

“I am saddened myself that I have been castigated because I have taken up this case at the last minute,” said Zaid. “I would not have done so if I thought there was no basis.

“There is no respect for people like us, old folks at the bar, that you can be so flippant about it, that you can be so cavalier about it,” he said.

Earlier, Hisyam told the press corps of his own dissatisfaction with the apex court’s decision to reject Najib’s motion to adduce further evidence.

“We presented strong arguments both on facts and on law to persuade the court to allow the application as justice must be seen to be done,” he said. “Unfortunately, the court did not appreciate our arguments.”

He also said he was “terribly disappointed and saddened by the stance taken by the Federal Court” in rejecting his legal team’s request to postpone the appeal proper.

“It’s my humble opinion that our request is both fair and reasonable,” he said. “I thought the court will be sympathetic and exercise its discretion in our favour but, unfortunately, this was not so.”

He said his team had given notice in late July 2022, as soon as it took over the case, that they would require further time to prepare.

“The record of appeal runs into hundreds of volumes – about 179 – (and there are) thousands of pages of grounds of judgment and exhibits to go through,” he said.

He said the defence team would need to give serious consideration to what to do next.

“We will look again at the course of action we will (need to) take and come back on Thursday morning (for the hearing of the appeal proper),” he said.

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