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Anwar’s Sodomy Appeal Enters Seventh Day Of Hearing

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PUTRAJAYA – The hearing of the final appeal of PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim against a sodomy conviction and five-year jail sentence entered its seventh day today at the Federal Court, with the defence replying to the prosecution’s submission.

Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, a former Federal Court judge who is leading a team of 14 lawyers representing Anwar, informed the court on Nov 4 that co-counsel Ramkarpal Singh Deo would be submitting first and he (Sri Ram) would wrap up the
defence submission.

The defence, which began its submission on Oct 28 to persuade the Federal Court to free Anwar of the sodomy charge, had taken three days to present its arguments.

Lead prosecutor Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who started the prosecution’s reply to the defence submission on Oct 31, also took three days to present his arguments.

A five-man bench chaired by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria is hearing the appeal to set aside the opposition leader’s conviction and sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal on March 7 this year after it had overturned a High Court decision to acquit Anwar.

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.

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

The charge, under Section 377B of the Penal Code, 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 dragged on for seven days as both sides made 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.

On Jan 9, 2012, the High Court acquitted and discharged Anwar of having sodomised Mohd Saiful on the grounds that the court could not be 100 per cent certain on the integrity of samples taken for DNA testing from the alleged victim.

The court had ruled that the samples could have been compromised before they reached the Chemistry Department for analysis.

However, the Court of Appeal, in convicting Anwar on the sodomy charge, held that the trial judge had erred in his findings about the samples which were based on the evidence of two expert witnesses called by the defence.

If Anwar loses his appeal, he could be disqualified as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Permatang Pauh as per Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution which states that an MP would be disqualified if he or she is sentenced to a jail term of more than a year, or fined more than RM2,000.

This is the second sodomy case against Anwar. In the first case, he was found guilty of having sodomised his family’s
driver, Azizan Abu Bakar, at Tivoli Villa here in 1994, and was sentenced to nine years’ jail by the High Court on Aug 8, 2000.

The High Court had ordered Anwar to serve the sentence after the completion of his six-year jail term for corruption. He was found guilty on four charges of corruption on April 4, 1999.

However, after spending nearly six years in jail for corruption, Anwar was released on Sept 2, 2004 as the Federal Court, led by Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad who went on to become the chief justice, overturned his conviction and set aside the jail sentence on the charge of having sodomised Azizan, in a 2-1 majority decision. – Bernama

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