Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim failed on Thursday to win a postponement in his sodomy trial after his chief lawyer was forced to withdraw due to illness.
The High Court ordered Anwar's legal team to proceed with the case, starting with an application to force the prosecution to disclose evidence including medical reports relating to the charges.
"I am confident there will be no injustice. The request for adjournment is denied and the case will go on," said Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohamad Diah.
Sivarasa Rasiah, a lawyer for Anwar who insists the charges are a conspiracy to neutralise him politically, told the court the defence team would proceed "but under protest".
"This is bad news for me.... I had great confidence in him," Anwar said of his lead counsel, Sulaiman Abdullah, who has been hospitalised with bouts of dizziness that already led to one postponement.
The 61-year-old opposition leader is accused of having sexual relations with a 24-year-old male aide. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.