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Anwar Trial Transfer, Court Adjourned To October 31

Sessions court judge S.M. Komathy Suppiah has lifted the media gag on the contents of nine “exhibits” referred to by the defence team in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim‘s Sodomy II hearing.

Kompleks Mahkamah Jalan DutaYesterday, Judge Komathy had allowed the prosecution’s application to issue a gag order to restrain the media from reporting about Abdul Gani Patail’s alleged involvement as shown in the contents of the exhibits.

Anwar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah had argued before Judge S.M. Komathy Suppiah that the three exhibits [two statements of claim respectively filed by Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan and the then investigation officer in the 1998 Anwar case Mat Zain Ibrahim and newspaper reports on that incident] had been read out in open court.

“The two statements of claim were filed in the Kuala Lumpur High Court and they become public documents and they could be published. The public has the right to know what had happened in court,” Sulaiman said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Yusof Zainal Abiden clarified that he had not asked the court to impose a total “gag order” on the media.

Instead, he had merely requested that the court instruct the press to temporarily refrain from revealing the information contained in documents referred to when Anwar filed his affidavit until the prosecution could submit their arguments.

When judge Komathy asked Yusof which documents he objected to, he said it was the newspaper reports from national news agency Bernama, local English daily New Straits Times and the International Herald Tribune.

The other documents were the two statements of claim filed by Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim who was the investigating officer handling Anwar’s trial 10 years ago, and who recently sued the opposition leader for defamation.

Yusof contended that the documents included statements that needed to be sworn in court first and were not admissible at this stage even if they were already available in the public realm.

The judge ruled in favour of admitting the exhibits.

Anwar has filed an affidavit to support his application opposing the prosecution’s bid to transfer his case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

He had questioned the validity of the transfer certificate signed by AG Abdul Gani Patail when under an Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) investigation following a police report lodged against him by Anwar over fabrication of evidence.

Defence counsel Sulaiman Abdullah then asked Judge Komathy for a postponement of today’s hearing.

He said his client had to attend parliament from Monday onwards as he was the opposition leader and was only free on Fridays.

Judge Komathy then adjourned the hearing to 9am on Oct 31.

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