Saturday, December 3

Accused and brother no longer allowed to practise law

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KUALA LUMPUR: A lawyer who is accused in the Banting murders and his brother, also a lawyer, are no longer allowed to practise law.

This follows a decision by the High Court here in dismissing with cost the application by N Pathmanabhan and N Surendran to set aside an order by the Advocates and Solicitors’ Disciplinary Board in striking off their names as registered lawyers.

Justice Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, who made the decision in chambers, also dismissed the brothers’ application  for a stay of the order by the disciplinary board.

Lawyer T Rajasekaran, who represented respondent M Rajeanteran, told reporters, that following the court’s decision, Pathmanabhan and his brother, who was at one time also detained as a suspect in the murders of cosmetic millionaire Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others, could no longer carry out any dealings as lawyers.

In 2003, Rajeantaran had lodged a police report against Pathmanabhan and Surendran, who acted as his lawyers in a property purchase deal made in 1999, after realising that he had been cheated by the brothers.

The disciplinary board began its investigations into Rajaentaran’s complaints on Feb 8, 2007 until Nov 5, 2009.

On Nov 24 last year, the two lawyer brothers filed an originating summons seeking a court order to set aside the order by Advocates and Solicitors’ Disciplinary Board and to temporarily suspend the order pending the hearing and decision of their originating summons.

In the notice of summons, Pathmanabhan and Surendran stated that the order by the disciplinary board was null and void because the board had contradicted Section 103 D(1) of the Legal Profession Act 1976 by not stating whether it accepted or rejected the decision or recommendations by the investigating tribunal.

They also claimed that the striking of their names as registered lawyers of the High Court of Malaya was void because they were not given an opportunity by the investigating tribunal to produce a testimony by an important and reliable witness.

Meanwhile, Rajeanteran, in his affidavit, claimed that the six-year investigations by the disciplinary board and the investigating tribunal were valid as all important witnesses were called to testify.

He claimed the two lawyer brothers had prepared a writ of summons and a statement of claim to cheat him.

The decision by the Advocates and Solicitors’ Disciplinary Board found that the two brothers had acted as advocates and solicitors in the purchase deal and had signed the necessary documents in 1998 when in fact they had not been admitted to the bar.

Pathmanabhan and Surendran were only admitted to the bar in December 1999.

The board also found that the brothers had acted as lawyers at a legal firm in Banting and a year later, went to work at Pathma Nall Nalli & Partners.

Also present were lawyers Biliwi Singh, who represented the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board and Robert Lau, represented the Bar Council. — Bernama