|‘Lawyer breached code of ethics’|
|Tuesday, 08 July 2008 06:43am|
Sun (Used by permission)
PETALING JAYA: Lawyer M. Arulampalam – controversial private investigator (PI) P. Balasubramaniam’s second counsel – could face possible action by the Bar Council’s disciplinary board for breaching the lawyers’ code of ethics.
This follows allegations by Americk Singh Sidhu, the lawyer who first represented Balasubramaniam, that Arulampalam took over as counsel for the PI, without his (Sidhu’s) consent.
“It is a breach of ethics to represent a person without the prior consent or approval of his first lawyer,” he said when contacted.
“I have been strongly advised by members of the Bar Council to file a formal complaint against Arulampalam and will do it soon.
“I was not contacted (by the lawyer). I came to know that Balasubramaniam had engaged another lawyer to retract the first SD (statutory declaration) and had released a second SD only when the media contacted me on Friday morning.”
“The lawyer should have known better as he was handling a case that involved an SD, and the least he could have done was to inform me that he was taking over as counsel,” Sidhu said.
“This is unacceptable. I am not interested in fighting with anyone. I am more interested in knowing the truth,” he said, adding however that he would not take any legal action against Balasubramaniam.
“I know Bala well and have full faith in him. He would not resort to such actions unless he was intimidated or pressured, so that is why I am not resorting to any legal action against him.”
Sidhu, who denied he is a member of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, said he became involved in Balasubramaniam’s case on a pro bono basis because he was interested in the truth.
Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, when contacted, said that when a complaint is filed, it will go to the disciplinary board for the next course of action.
“A lot depends on the retainer given to the lawyer by the client and it is open to the lawyer concerned to lodge a complaint if there has been a breach,” she said, adding that this would also apply in cases handled pro bono.
“If a complaint is filed with the disciplinary board, then the necessary action will certainly be taken,” she added.
Sreenevasan was quoted in the media on Saturday as saying that Balasubramaniam’s first SD will stand and cannot be withdrawn.
“A statutory declaration is a document that contains evidence
given on oath. It is sworn before a commissioner of oaths. As in the case
Sreenevasan however she said a statutory declaration could be supplemented or corrected.
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