The lead counsel of former policeman Azilah Hadri today maintained that he had always acted in the best interest of his client throughout the murder trial of Mongolian citizen Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Hazman Ahmad said he had acted on Azilah’s instructions and advanced all defences available during the trial.
“A counsel cannot act on his own or else he can be sued,” he added.
“I would have discharged myself, or Azilah could have engaged another lawyer if we were unhappy with the contractual relationship,” he said in response to Azilah’s sworn statement that former prime minister Najib Razak had ordered the death of Altantuya.
Azilah, who was convicted of murdering Altantuya with his partner Sirul Azhar Umar, issued a statutory declaration (SD) as part of an application in the Federal Court last week for a review of his case.
He is seeking to have his conviction set aside and a fresh trial held.
In his SD, Azilah said, among others, that Altantuya’s former lover Abdul Razak Baginda and senior police officer Musa Safri were aware of the “instructions” from Najib.
Razak was acquitted of Altantuya’s murder while Najib has strongly denied allegations of his involvement.
Hazman, who was assisted in the case by lawyer J Kuldeep Kumar all the way to the Federal Court, said he could not reveal more as he was bound by client-lawyer privilege under the Evidence Act.
Hazman is still on record to represent Azilah before the Selangor Pardons Board in an effort to commute the latter’s death sentence to a prison term.
Kuldeep, meanwhile, is acting independently to appear for Azilah in the review application scheduled for hearing on April 20 next year.
Lawyer A Srimurugan opined that Azilah’s statement was not enough to constitute fresh evidence in the bid for review.
“The applicant or others related to the case have to offer additional material for the court’s consideration,” he said.
At this point, he added, the SD would only be useful for the police in beginning a fresh investigation into the case.
“Perhaps the then-inspector-general of police and the attorney-general holding office when the murder took place should be questioned,” he said. – FMT