Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Diplomat case: Malaysia sending lawyer for accused's trial

Muhammed Rizalman bin Ismail.
Muhammed Rizalman bin Ismail.

Malaysia will send a lawyer to advise a disgraced diplomat when he stands trial in New Zealand, the country's attorney-general said.

Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said sending the lawyer was part of an agreement struck between the two governments.

He told the Rakyak Post that New Zealand has promised the accused will receive proper legal representation, and he will select his own lawyer in New Zealand.

Muhammed Rizalman bin Ismail was arrested on May 9 after allegedly following a 21-year-old Wellington woman home and assaulting her.

He was arrested the same night and charged the next day in the Wellington District Court.

Rizalman claimed diplomatic immunity and returned to Malaysia on May 22.

The New Zealand Government maintains it always wanted Rizalman to remain in the country and face the charges. But miscommunication between New Zealand and Malaysian officials led to Malaysia believing it was acceptable for Rizalman to be repatriated and tried under a military court.

Prime Minister John Key has said Rizalman's return could take months.

- Herald on Sunday

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