City Harvest trial: Accused's lawyer discharged; client cites personal reasons

Former City Harvest Church treasurer Chew Eng Han leaves the State Court. Chew will represent himself for the remainder of the trial after Senior Counsel Michael Khoo applied to be discharged as his lawyer.  
Former City Harvest Church treasurer Chew Eng Han leaves the State Court. Chew will represent himself for the remainder of the trial after Senior Counsel Michael Khoo applied to be discharged as his lawyer.  

SINGAPORE - Ex-City Harvest church investment manager Chew Eng Han, one of six church leaders accused of misusing millions of dollars of church funds, will represent himself for the remainder of the long-running trial.

In a short hearing in chambers on Wednesday, Senior Counsel Michael Khoo applied to be discharged as Chew's lawyer. This was accepted by Presiding Judge of the State Courts See Kee Oon.

Undisclosed personal reasons on Chew's part are believed to be behind the move.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Mr Khoo said his client had informed him of the decision last week but did not say more, citing client-solicitor privilege.

The arrangement, which began on Mar 8 last year after Mr Khoo was designated as Chew's lawyer, comes to an end after some 15 months. Chew earlier tried unsuccessfully to engage a Queen's Counsel - an elite British lawyer - but this had been rejected by Justice V. K. Rajah.

When approached, Chew confirmed he had come to the decision recently, adding he had the "personal conviction" to represent himself.

He said he would explain the move further in writing, in a blog entry on Wednesday evening.

The trial resumes on July 14.