Cherie's shame - how she was ejected from
the barristers' bench

From Daily Mail of June 14, 2006

On her arrival at court, Mrs Blair, wearing a navy blue suit and carrying an armload of files, made her way to the counsel's bench. But before the court got under way, officials approached her and asked her to sit in the public gallery.
Sitting among public spectators, the (British) Prime Minister's wife took notes as proceedings got under way, listening as lawyers for Fawziah Holdings argued that she was qualified to represent them.
But lawyers representing the Bar Council of Malaysia and others representing an opposing construction company argued she did not have the qualifications because the case was going to involve Indian case law, of which she had no knowledge.
Outside the court, Mr Das said he could not comment on who paid for Mrs Blair's trip.
"She is here on assignment for the trial," he said. "I am not involved in the logistics."
The British High Commission was also unable or unwilling to comment on who funded her trip to Malaysia. A spokesman said she had attended the court as a private citizen at the invitation of Mr Das.
The case that Fawziah wanted Mrs Blair to work on involves former Malaysian Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin. Fawziah says it was unfairly deprived of compensation in 1990 when the government suspended toll collection at a road operated by Metramac, a toll operator company controlled by Fawziah.
Metramac was later taken over by two businessmen close to Daim, who were then compensated. In January, a court ordered Metramac to pay 14.3million to Fawziah Holdings.
When it was learned earlier in the year that Fawziah wanted Mrs Blair to look into the whole affair, lawyers in Malaysia argued that she was no more qualified than they were to take on the case.
Even Malaysia's Attorney General agreed that she should not be allowed to enter the Malaysian bar on a temporary basis and joined the Bar Council of Malaysia in objecting to her involvement.
Repeating their argument in court, Mrs Blair's opponents said her expertise was unnecessary and might prove irrelevant to the case.
Fawziah had contended that Mrs Blair's expertise in public law and human rights was useful for their case.
"Mrs Blair no doubt has impressive credentials, but her area of expertise is not relevant in the present case," Bar Council lawyer George Varughese argued in court.
"She specialises in employment laws, human rights, European law and public law, which is not relevant to the present case.
"There are sufficient lawyers in the country who can handle the case. She has nothing extra."
Last night Mrs Blair avoided local journalists waiting outside her Kuala Lumpur hotel and was understood to be catching a flight direct to London.
"We can't understand why she made such a dash from the UK to come to the court in person," said one lawyer. "She had lost the first round - it's unusual to say the least that someone of her standing should come all the way here and sit herself down at the bar table expecting to sway the judges in some way."
"She might argue that she wasn't doing that, but what other kind of picture can you gather from her actions?"

Home Page