Anwar's bid to oust lawyer from prosecution fails again

PUTRAJAYA - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has failed in his third bid to stop lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah from leading the prosecution team in his sodomy case.

The reason for wanting to have Muhammad Shafee disqualified this time is that the senior lawyer had been fined for misconduct.

Court of Appeal judge Justice Balia Yusof Wahi, who chaired a three-man panel, held that the application was vexatious and tantamount to abuse of the court process.

"This application is made for the purpose of delaying the appeal (hearing)," he said.

Justice Balia said that the panel agreed with Muhammad Shafee's submissions that any findings on misconduct must be made by the Advocates and Solicitors Disci­plinary Board.

It is for the Board to order him to be struck off from the Rolls.

He said the panel further agreed with Muhammad Shafee's submissions that the court cannot make a finding on unfitness to practice as such powers are statutorily vested in the Bar Council.

Justice Balia said that the Public Prosecutor had the sole discretion and constitutional prerogative to appoint a deputy public prosecutor (DPP).

The two other judges on the panel are Court of Appeal judges Justices Aziah Ali and Mohd Zawawi Salleh.

Justice Balia also rejected an application by Anwar's lead counsel Karpal Singh for a stay of execution pending the hearing of the main appeal.

"We find no special circumstances had been shown to warrant a stay. The appeal is set to be heard on Thursday and Friday," he added.