Court’s decision to force Najib’s then lawyer to stay on a ‘fundamental’ error, says defence counsel

PUTRAJAYA – Forcing former premier Najib Razak’s lawyer to stay on despite his request to be discharged was a “fundamental” error by Malaysia’s apex court which amounts to the Umno politician not being given a fair trial, his current defence counsel told the Federal Court on Monday.

Lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who was Najib’s lawyer at the final appeal in the SRC International case, was “compelled to remain in court” despite his attempt to discharge himself due to time constraints.

“(This is) enforced obligation, which was not meant to happen,” Mr Shafee said, when making his submissions in Najib’s review application in the SRC International case.

Najib is seeking a review of the Federal Court’s decision that affirmed his conviction and 12-year sentence over the misappropriation of RM42 million (S$12.9 million) from SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary, claiming that he was not given a fair hearing.

In August 2022, Mr Hisyam asked for a postponement of three to four months, as he had taken over the case only several weeks earlier.

The request was dismissed by a five-judge panel, which was led by Chief Justice Maimun Tuan Mat.

Mr Hisyam then refused to make any submission on Najib’s behalf. The Federal Court subsequently upheld the conviction and sentence on Aug 23, 2022.

Mr Shafee said: “The counsel (Mr Hisyam) said it’s not the fault of his client (Najib) but it is his fault because he had misjudged the timing (between taking over the matter and the hearing dates). So why punish my client?”

He said the apex court should have allowed Mr Hisyam to discharge himself, but instead, it forced the lawyer to remain on record as the lead counsel.

“This goes against every rubric of law and jurisdiction of the

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Siti Bainun reappoints lawyer to enter her defence

RUMAH Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali has reappointed one of the five lawyers who withdrew from representing her to handle her defence on charges of child neglect and abuse.

Siti Bainun, 31, told the court that she had appointed Mohammad Farhan Maaruf to represent her in her defence.

“I have also informed the National Legal Aid Foundation about his reappointment,” Siti Bainun said during proceedings before Sessions Court Judge Izralizam Sanusi today.

Farhan confirmed his reappointment, which came into effect yesterday.

Subsequently, deputy public prosecutor Zilfinaz Abbas requested the court to record the chronology of the withdrawal of Siti Bainun’s lawyers during the trial.

“I request the court to record that Farhan withdrew on January 13, followed by lawyers Nur Ellena Mohamed Razif and Asiah Abd Jalil.

“Lawyer Nur’Aminahtul Mardiah Md Nor applied to withdraw in open court, and lawyer Nurul Hafidzah Hassan made a similar request in writing,” he said.

Following their withdrawal, Siti Bainun was left with no legal representation.

On January 26, Judge Izralizam insisted that Siti Bainun enter her defence, despite the fact that she was no longer represented.

Previously, on November 24, 2022, the court ordered Siti Bainun to enter her defence on the charges of neglecting and abusing Bella, a Down’s Syndrome teenager in Siti Bainun’s care.

She was alleged to have committed the offence in a condominium unit in Wangsa Maju between February and June 2021.

The charges were framed under section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001, which carries imprisonment for up to 20 years or a fine of RM50,000 or both, if found guilty.

The hearing before Izralizam continues. – Bernama, February 20, 2023.

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Lagos election: Lawyer addresses confusion over LP’s Rhodes-Vivour candidacy

The legal team of Labour Party (LP) candidate for the governorship election in Lagos State, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (GRV), said he remains the party’s authentic flagbearer.

Olagbade Benson, the Lead Counsel, told reporters on Monday that three court cases instituted against his client’s candidacy recently had been struck out.

Benson, in company of other lawyers Uchechukwu Ani and Kemi Afesojaye, dismissed the claim of former LP candidate and Chairman in Lagos, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, that he had a case against Rhodes-Vivour.

The legal practitioner declared that the affidavit being brandished by Awamaridi as the true position of the court is fake.

He noted that two judgements from the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal affirm the candidature of Rhodes-Vivour.

“Anyone going around parading himself as the candidate of the party, aside Rhodes-Vivour, and others alleging cases before the court are misleading the public,” Benson said.

He realled how Awamaridi filed a suit before the Federal High Court with No: FHC/ABJ/1463/2022, suing LP, GRV and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

“On the 8th of December, the Federal High Court considered the case and struck it out.”

The lawyer advised any member of the public interested in getting a copy of the judgement to apply because it is a public document.

He said on February 2, 2023, the appellate court terminated Awamaridi’s suit as it was filed out of time allotted by the law or pre-electoral matters.

However, the PDP suit challenging GRV’s candidature was earlier struck out at the Federal High Court on December 8, 2022, Benson added.

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Judge delays jury trial to allow defendant a new attorney

An Edinburgh man who has waited in jail more than four years for his trial will have to wait a while longer.

Jury selection was already underway Tuesday in Bartholomew Circuit Court Tuesday in the case of Teddy Allman, 51, charged with rape, criminal confinement and intimidation that allegedly occurred in September 2018. A conviction could result in a prison term of between 20 to 40 years.

On Tuesday morning, a jury pool of 80 residents were summoned. However, Judge Kelly Benjamin discovered there was a conflict between Allman and defense attorney Elliot Happel, and postponed the trial to enable Allman to get a new lawyer.

Besides Happel, Allman has previously been represented in this case by public defenders Michael DeArmitt, Chris Monroe and Don Edwards. There have also periods over the past four years when Allman attempted to serve as his own lawyer.

Every time there is a change in legal representation, it results in months of delays to allow a new attorney to become familiar with the case.

Allman is charged with the Sept. 10, 2018 rape and battery of a Bartholomew County woman after she had taken out a protective order against him. The victim told police that Allman, who had a makeshift knife, struck her in the face multiple times and kicked her, court documents state.

Investigators said Allman’s cell phone recorded portions of the assault, including his verbal order to the victim that she “had 30 seconds” to agree to drop the protective order or she and her family would be killed.

During the past four years, Allman has attempted unorthodox tactics in court such as claiming he was forced into committing rape by the Aryan Brotherhood, submitting Bible verses as defense documents, and even filing a lawsuit against Benjamin and

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Panel makes changes to proposed concealed carry law after concerns retired officers could be charged

A state Assembly panel has made some changes to a new bill that could restrict the concealed carry of guns in New Jersey.

The lawmakers first introduced the legislation last week. It would limit a gun owner’s ability to carry concealed weapons in certain places. But there were concerns that retired law enforcement officers could be arrested if they accidentally carried guns they are authorized to have into restricted areas.

“I don’t want to have any retiree put in a place where they’re going to be charged criminally if by chance they do carry,” says retired New Jersey State Police Lt. George Wren.

The changes also allow towns to make their own rules about places concealed guns are prohibited and require the state attorney general to make clear guidelines for the places like hospitals, airports and schools where handguns are prohibited.

Republicans have objected to the bill, saying the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision this summer gives Americans the right to concealed carry.

“They’ve made so many broad categories, it makes it almost impossible to do,” says Republican Assemblyman Robert Auth.

Democratic Assemblyman Joe Danielsen is a gun owner and hunter. He wrote the bill and says he’s happy with the changes.

But as to whether the bill will pass any constitutional challenges in court, he says, “That’s a very good question. My job is a legislator. I am not a circuit court judge, I’m not a justice on the Supreme Court, my job is to legislate.”

The full Assembly could vote on the bill as soon as this week. It would have to pass the state Senate before it gets to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.

“There’s no higher priority for me as a legislator than to

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Supreme Court move allows Jackson to take part in race case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Friday took a step that will allow new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman on the court, to take part in a case that could lead to the end of the use of race in college admissions .

Jackson, who joined the court June 30 following the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, had pledged during her confirmation hearing to sit out the case involving Harvard’s admissions policy because she was a member of the school’s board.

The Harvard dispute had been joined to a similar lawsuit involving the University of North Carolina. The court split the case in two, allowing Jackson to hear arguments and vote in the North Carolina case. Harvard is a private institution, while North Carolina is a public university.

Jackson’s participation seems unlikely to make much difference in the outcome on a court with a 6-3 conservative majority that is skeptical of the role of race in education, voting and other areas.

Arguments over one of the new term’s most highly anticipated issues will probably take place in November or December, but no date has been announced yet.

Jackson was a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers from 2016 until the spring. It is made up of alumni and is one of Harvard’s two governing bodies. She is a graduate of both of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Three other justices also got their law degrees from Harvard: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch. Roberts also was a Harvard undergraduate and Kagan was the law school dean for a time.

But none of the other justices has any current or recent role with the university.

Federal law requires all judges to recuse from cases in which their “impartiality might reasonably be

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Federal Court: Select AFSL “acted unconscionably” when selling insurance

“In making findings of unconscionable conduct the Court has emphasized that consumers must have the opportunity to understand and consider the features of the insurance product they’ve been offered,” ASIC Commissioner Sean Hughes said in response to the court judgment.

The release said ASIC’s case focused on the mis-selling of insurance over the phone to 14 consumers.

“English was not the first language of many of the consumers and some did not fully understand the products being sold to them or that they had even been sold the insurance,” said the release.

“ASIC is resolutely committed to protecting the most vulnerable consumers where they are targeted by mis-selling,” Hughes said. “A key driver of Select’s mis-selling was the unlawful sales incentive programs created for the agents, which were condoned by the companies’ managing director,” he added.

The Court said ASIC’s claim alleged both conflicted remuneration contraventions Contrary to the Corporations Act 2001 and consumer contraventions of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.

ASIC also alleged breaches by Select of general provisions imposed upon it as the holder of an AFSL and also alleged breaches by Russell Howden of his duties as director.

“Howden failed to take reasonable steps, or any steps at all, to prevent Select and/or BlueInc Services from contravening, or potentially contravening, ss 963E, 963F and 963J of the Corporations Act,” said the judgment.

Select was established in 2011 with Howden as sole director. The judgment referred to his more than 20 years’ experience in the insurance industry in Australia.

Hughes said the case serves as a reminder to insurers to ensure their distributors act appropriately and put consumer needs first. A penalty hearing is yet to be listed by the Court.

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New York gun law requires review of permit seekers’ social media, faces likely legal challenge

Harshly rebuked by the Supreme Court for its historical restrictions on gun permits, New York appears to have set up a new legal challenge by passing a law that requires gun owners to undergo a review of their social media before getting permission to carry.

The new law passed Friday by the Democratic-led New York legislature and signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul requires permit seekers to provide a list of their social media accounts to verify their character and conduct.

The law, which takes effect Sept. 1, also requires a permit seeker to provide four character references, deliver contact information for their spouse, domestic partner or other adults living in their home and undergo extensive firearms training and periodic background checks.

Legal experts said the law raised serious 1st and 2nd Amendment concerns and almost certainly will be challenged in court immediately.

“The law seems another overreach by the state,” George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley tweeted Saturday. “New York has thus far been about as effective in curtailing gun rights as Monty Python’s ‘Judean People’s Front Crack Suicide Squad’ was effective in combating Roman occupation.

“The new firearm law will take effect on September 1. A challenge is expected no later than September 2,” he added.

Gun rights advocates in New York said the new law was passed in direct defiance of June’s historic Supreme Court ruling striking down the state’s century-old handgun restrictions.

“Gov. Hochul and her anti-Second Amendment allies in Albany have defied the United States Supreme Court with an intentionally malicious rewriting of New York’s concealed carry law,” Darin Hoens, the New York NRA state director, said.

Hochul argues the new law is needed because gun owners with ill intent often telegraph their intentions on social media.

The Supreme Court, however, made clear in

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