Anwar blocked from more sodomy proof by Malaysian court

KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 — The prosecution today effectively prevented Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s defence team from mounting an effective case after the court allowed it a stay of a decision to allow the defence access to more evidence.

Among the laundry list of items the defence had demanded and the High Court here had allowed last week are:

• statements from witnesses including a private hospital doctor who had first examined Anwar's accuser for signs of anal penetration;and

• working notes from the chemist that had run tests on DNA samples supposedly taken from both aggressor and victim and a clear and round-the-clock copy of closed-circuit television (CCTV) recordings taken from the condominium compound between June 25 and 27 last year which supposedly show 24-year-old Mohd Saiful Azlan Bukhari heading to the apartment unit where he has accused the 61-year-old opposition leader of sodomising him.

Sodomy is classified as “sex against the order of nature” and is a crime in conservative Malaysia.

The court fixed Sept 2 for the next date to mention Anwar’s bid to strike out the sodomy charges against him and fix a start date for the trial. — File pic
Today, High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah agreed with the prosecution that it could keep all the extra pieces of proof — except for the original DNA samples and swabs which have been sealed to prevent any possible tampering before the trial starts — until it succeeds in getting the Court of Appeal to hear its case.

For the court to insist the prosecution give the proofs to the defence immediately would make its appeal “academic”, the prosecution argued.

The same High Court judge had last Thursday ordered the prosecution to hand over the proofs so that Anwar's team, now missing its lead counsel since veteran lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah fell sick and pulled out, could have an equal chance to look at all the things the prosecution is using and prepare a more complete defence when the trial proper starts.

The Amer Hamzah Arshad and Sivarasa Rasiah combo had earlier argued forcefully that there was no proof of “irreparable damage to the prosecution” if it lets the defence see the documents at this point of pre-trial.

Instead, they claimed that the defence team would lose out if they did not get proofs beforehand because they would not have enough time to prepare their defence for Anwar, who has consistently said he is being made a victim of “political persecution” on “trumped-up charges”, especially since he had been cleared of sodomy the first time around.

“We're going to be looking at the documents eventually. What's the difference between now and later? Do they have something to hide?” Amer Hamzah charged in court.

He pointed out that the prosecution had failed to even mention in its affidavit of support that the defence or Anwar may start to harass the victim or witnesses and even the scientific experts after getting their hands on the documents.

But the judge overruled the defence's objections.

He also fixed Sept 2 for the next date to mention Anwar's bid to strike out the sodomy charges against him and fix a start date for the trial.

Interestingly, the date falls on the 11th anniversary of the PKR leader's sacking as deputy prime minister and which pushed the rise of the pivotal “Reformasi” movement.

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