SINGAPORE: Mr Lim Tean dismissed his lawyer on the first day of his trial on Tuesday (Aug 29). He also asked for an adjournment of the trial so he could do two things: find a new lawyer and study the evidence from the prosecution because he’s been busy with the Presidential Election.
The trial involves three charges against Mr Lim of acting as a lawyer without a valid practising certificate under the Legal Profession Act, which he is contesting. As for the Presidential Election, he is the seconder of one of the candidates, Mr Tan Kin Lian, the former chief executive officer of NTUC Income.
Mr Lim appeared in court with his lawyer, Sankar Kailasa Thevar Saminathan, from Sterling Law Corporation. However, just after the trial began, he dismissed his defence counsel.
“It has become apparent that we have fundamental differences in how to handle my defence. I therefore discharge him and would like to get a new counsel,” TODAY quotes Mr Lim, 58, as saying.
He also said he needs more time to peruse the evidence bundle he received from the prosecution last week.
”The service of the bundle came at an inopportune time and I have been very involved for the campaign of one of the presidential candidates which has hardly left me any time for the trial.”
The prosecution has called Mr Lim’s action a “delay tactic,” with Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Edwin Soh pointing out that the trial date had already been scheduled during a pre-trial conference hearing in March. He proceeded to ask the court to deny the request of Mr Lim since he is an experienced lawyer and is able to represent himself.
Mr Lim, however, said he was exercising his “constitutional right” to have representation by way of counsel.
“Nobody could have foreseen that I would’ve been placed in the path of a presidential campaign. I had no idea when the trial dates were set months ago that I would be involved, or that my preferred candidate would actually enter the race,” he added.
His request to find a new lawyer was granted by Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun, who gave him a day to do so but said that if he does not have a new lawyer by tomorrow, the trial will still proceed on Aug 30 (Wednesday). /TISG