KUALA LUMPUR (July 26): Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has appointed lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik as his lead counsel in his final appeal in the SRC International Sdn Bhd graft case.
It is learned by The Edge that Hisyam will be flanked by lawyers Liew Teck Huat and Rueben Mathiavaranam from Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew and Partners.
In addition, lawyers Sidharth Luthra and Kavin Gulati from India will be assisting Najib’s team in the appeal.
It is also learned by The Edge that the new legal team will be seeking an adjournment of Najib’s final appeal which is slated to start on Aug 15. They will bring up the matter during case management at the Federal Court later this week.
Najib also has instructed his legal team to withdraw the appeal at the Federal Court to allow Queen's Counsel Jonathan Laidlaw to represent the former premier in his final appeal.
Last week, High Court Justice Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid had dismissed the application for Laidlaw to be admitted to handle the case at the Federal Court.
There is a case management on July 29 before the Registrar of the Federal Court to confirm that Najib has changed counsel. However, the new counsel has requested that the case management be held as soon as possible.
On July 28, 2020, the High Court sentenced Najib to 12 years in jail and fined him RM210 million after he was found guilty by Justice Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali of seven charges concerning SRC.
The seven charges comprise one count of abuse of power involving Retirement Fund Inc's (KWAP) RM4 billion loans to SRC, three counts of criminal breach of trust involving RM42 million, and three counts of money laundering.
The Court of Appeal on Dec 8, 2021 upheld the High Court's decision.
On March 16, 2022, the Federal Court dismissed Najib's appeal against the appellate court's Dec 7, 2021 decision to reject his application to adduce more evidence to the SRC case to overturn his conviction.
The Federal Court is scheduled to hear Najib’s appeal in two stages over 10 days. It was reported that the first stage is scheduled for Aug 15 to 19, while the second stage has been fixed for Aug 22 to 26.
Hisyam is also acting as lead counsel in the criminal trials of UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Hisyam is a renowned lawyer in the field of criminal litigation.
Notably, Hisyam represented Doan Thi Huong — the Vietnamese woman initially accused of murdering Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. She was eventually sentenced to spend three years and four months in jail after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of causing hurt to Jong Nam by a dangerous weapon after prosecutors reduced the murder charge against her.
Sources told The Edge that the new counsel will try to “engineer an adjournment” as they would need time to go through documents and facts of the case.
It was reported on Tuesday (July 26) that Najib had discharged his former legal team led by Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah and Harvinderjit Singh.