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Anwar Should Have Called Alibi Witnesses

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PUTRAJAYA – PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should have called his alibi witnesses to prove he was not at the condominium unit when the alleged sodomy involving him and his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan occurred, the Federal Court heard today.

Lead prosecutor Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said Anwar, through his solicitor, had listed 13 names, including the opposition leader’s wife, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, condominium unit owner, two maids and a professor.

“But none of them were called to give evidence in court to support his alibi that he was not at the condominium at that time.

“Mohd Saiful had given strong evidence on the presence of the appellant in the unit of the condominium. It is for him (Anwar) to dispute Mohd Saiful’s evidence by calling his alibi witnesses,” he submitted before a five-man bench chaired by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, which is hearing Anwar’s final appeal against a sodomy conviction and five-year jail sentence.

The Court of Appeal had found Anwar, 67, guilty of having sodomised Mohd Saiful Bukhari, 27, at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Muhammad Shafee said the court could draw an adverse inference on Anwar for failing to call upon his alibi witnesses.

He further submitted that there was a legal duty for the opposition leader to demolish the idea that he was present at the condominium unit on the day of the alleged sodomy.

He pointed out that it was statutory for Anwar to call these witnesses as the defence had filed a notice of alibi.

Muhammad Shafee also submitted that Anwar, in giving his statement from the dock, said his reason for not calling the alibi witnesses was valid and reasonable to which the prosecution contended was nonsense.

He argued that Anwar did not give his version of the alleged incident on June 26, 2008 at the condominium unit and there was overwhelming evidence that the appellant was seen on the CCTV (closed-circuit television) footage arriving and leaving the place after the incident.

Therefore, Muhammad Shafee contended that Anwar’s failure to deny or challenge the prosecution’s evidence was tantamount to an admission of the facts borne out by the evidence.

“This, indeed, will surely constitute corroborative evidence against him, following the absence of these alibi witnesses,” he said.

Hearing continues on Thursday.

Anwar was charged under Section 377B of the Penal Code, which carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years and whipping, upon conviction.

The appeal hearing, which was initially set for two days from Oct 28, has been extended as both sides submitted lengthy submissions.

The defence is seeking to free the opposition leader from a sodomy conviction while the prosecution wants the court to dismiss Anwar’s appeal to overturn his conviction and jail term.

The other four judges on the Federal Court panel are Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong, Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar and Datuk Ramly Ali. – BERNAMA

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