KUALA LUMPUR - The High Court has fixed Jan 24 to appoint new lawyers for the two men accused of the Movida nightclub bombing last June.
High Court Judicial Commissioner Nordin Hassan made the decision after the lawyers for Imam Wahyudin Karjono, 21 and Jonius Ondie @ Jahali, 24, withdrew at the start of the trial here Wednesday.
Imam was represented by Wong Kar Fai and Farida Mohammad, while Jonius was represented by Aaron Mark Pius and Kong Jiun Yuan.
The deputy public prosecutors were Saiful Edris Zainuddin and Mohamad Mustaffa P. Kunyalam.
During the proceedings, which were briefly delayed because Imam had not been brought to court, the lawyers for both accused asked for a postponement of the trial.
They said they had been furnished with fresh documents pertaining to the case just the day before, and needed more time to prepare their clients' defence.
However, judge Nordin said the excuse was not justifiable as all the documents had been handed over to the defence at the end of December last year.
"The reason given for postponement is not justifiable because all the documents were given on Dec 30.
"But the lawyers have asked to recuse themselves, and I have no power to object to that.
"The lawyers will no longer represent the first and second accused. If the accused require a lawyer appointed by the court, we will appoint one for them," he said before adjourning.
The trial of the two men was expected to begin on Wednesday, with the hearing of testimonies from 12 witnesses over two days.
Wong, who is representing Imam, later told reporters that the defence lawyers had submitted a request for a postponement over personal reasons on Monday, but it had been rejected.
"I have just returned from the United Kingdom last Friday while Farida is still recovering from dengue," he said.
The four said they were forced to discharge themselves from the case as they would not have been able to represent their clients fairly had the trial proceeded as scheduled.
Imam and Jonius are facing eight charges under Section 307 of the Penal Code for attempted murder, and one charge under Section 8 of the Firearms (Heavy Penalties) Act 1971 for using hand grenades.
They also face a charge under Section 130(c)(1)(b) of the Penal Code for committing terrorist acts.
Jonius, a factory operator from Sabah, was also charged in a separate court under Section 130J(1)(b) of the Penal Court for the commission of terrorist acts.
Both men are alleged to have committed the offence at the Movida restaurant and bar at IOI Boulevard in Puchong here at about 2am on June 28 last year.
Eight people were injured in the incident, which police later confirmed to be the first attack by the Islamic State (IS) terror group in Malaysia.