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Sodomy Case: Anwar Ordered To Enter Defence

There is a prima facie case in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy charge as the accuser Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan is a credible witness, trial judge Datuk Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah has ruled.

The High Court judge, in his decision today, quashed the defence team’s arguments in attacking Saiful’s credibility as the case’s star witness.

They had charged that Saiful had lied in open court, and charged that there were many loopholes in his testimony.

Mohd Zabidin had also decided that there was nothing “inconsistent” with the clinical findings by the doctors from Hospital Kuala Lumput (HKL) as well as government chemists who had taken DNA samples from Saiful and Anwar.

This is despite the defence’s repeated claims of possible contamination and degradation of material evidence by investigating officer ASP Jude Pereira.

“I found PW1 to be a credible witness, his evidence reliable.

“It was not surprising the defence had tried to paint a picture of PW1 as someone who had zero credibility… with greatest respect, I find this irrelevant,” said the judge.

Mohd Zabidin said that even though Saiful did not lodge a police report immediately after the alleged sodomy took place, or did not “resist” the alleged act, it did not mean he (Saiful) had lied under oath.

“It is not tenable to use PW1’s failure to escape as reason to not believe his testimony,” he said, while at the same time pointing out that Saiful had been accorded preferential treatment by Anwar when he was working for the PKR leader.

The judge also said that since there had been no dispute that Anwar had directed Saiful to go to the Desa Damansara condominium, there was undeniable proof that both of them were there during the time of the alleged act.

“There is no dispute that accused had invited PW1(Saiful) to go to the condo… PW1 and accused at the condo proves proximity of time.

“I find it is hard to accept defence’s submission, speculation that Saiful did not go to the fifth floor… based on evidence. I find accused and complainant at crime scene, opportunity for crime to take place,” said Mohd Zabidin when reading out his written judgment today.

He had also quashed the defence’s concerns with regards to the credibility of HKL doctors and government chemists involved in the case.

“All three doctors testified positively, conclude there was penile penetration,” said the trial judge.

Defence lawyer Sankara Nair argued against accepting the DNA samples in the trial as the samples were kept by Pereira for 97 hours before being given to the chemist.

The prosecution team, led by Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, argued that the DNA samples taken from three items in a cell where Anwar spent the night on July 16, 2008 matched with the “Male Y” DNA profile.

Yusof had also said Anwar was the sole detainee in the lockup at the time when the items — a “Good Morning” towel, toothbrush and mineral water bottle — were retrieved.

Chemist Dr Nor Aidora Saedon and Supt Amidon Anan were called earlier in April to identify the items to be marked as exhibits.

Government scientist Dr Seah Lay Hong testified last March that she had found two unknown male DNA profiles from samples retrieved from around Saiful’s anus, one of which she had earlier called “Male Y”.

“Chemist’s evidence shows swabs taken from PW1… these swabs confirmed presence of semen,” said Mohd Zabidin.

He also said that the DNA evidence taken from Anwar’s lockup on July 16, 2008 could be used as evidence as the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto leader was the last “occupant” in the holding cell before the three items — “Good Morning” towel, mineral water bottle and toothbrush — were retrieved for DNA sampling.

“There is no reason for this court not to accept evidence in this case… I find degradation, even if there is, to be insufficient,” ruled the judge.

The trial will resume from June 6-30 where Anwar will be defending his case.

Anwar, the 63-year-old PKR de facto leader, is currently facing sodomy charges for the second time in his life.

He has denied the charge, describing it as “evil, frivolous lies by those in power” when the charge was read out to him. He is charged under section 377B of the Penal Code and can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years’ jail and whipping upon conviction.

The trial began 18 months after Anwar was charged in court in August 2008.

He was charged with sodomy and corruption in 1998 after he was sacked from the Cabinet and was later convicted and jailed for both offences.

He was freed in September 2004 and later resurrected his political career by winning back his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in a by-election in 2008, which had been held in the interim by his wife.

He led the loose pact of PKR, the DAP and PAS to a historic sweep of five states and 82 parliamentary seats in Election 2008.

Source : The MalaysianInsider

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