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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Courtroom full of tension as Anwar is pronounced guilty

PUTRAJAYA: The courtroom was filled with drama and tension the moment the judges pronounced Anwar guilty yesterday.

When the panel did not allow Anwar’s lead counsel Karpal Singh’s application for mitigation to be held next Friday, there was an exchange of words among Karpal, lead prosecutor Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Anwar, who was seated near the dock.

Karpal said the matter should not be rushed unnecessarily but Shafee argued that the appeal had been pending since July last year and had been delayed.

Anwar said Shafee had said it before. This caused one of Anwar’s daughters and his wife to ask him to calm down.

This also caused the lead judge Justice Balia Yusof Wahi to order the parties to behave in court.

When Karpal questioned why the court was rushing the matter, Anwar’s wife interjected loudly: “Exactly”.

Upon hearing this, Anwar stood, bowed and shouted: “Tak payah, saya nak sekarang juga (No need, I want it now).”

There were screams from the public gallery asking the panel to have “fear in God” and chants of “AllahuAkbar (God is Great)”.

The court then gave Karpal an hour to prepare mitigation.

When the court stood down, one of the members of the public shouted that he was willing to be jailed, causing the PKR leader to ask the man to calm down.

When the court resumed, Karpal asked for a week to get a medical report for Anwar, saying that the accused suffered from high blood pressure and heart disease.

“If it is found there is no medical facility in prison to cater for his illness, what will happen? Every opportunity should be given to him.

“The extent of ailment can only be reflected in a medical report to effectively consider the sentence,” he said.

However, Justice Balia said they had considered that the prosecution was not challenging Anwar’s medical condition and asked him to proceed.

Anwar was acquitted by the High Court on Jan 9, 2012 for allegedly sodomising Mohd Saiful, his former aide, at Desa Damansara Condominiumin Bukit Damansara on June 26,2008.

Trial judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah had ruled that the court could not be 100% certain, after going through the evidence, that the integrity of the DNA samples had not been compromised.

In his submissions for sentencing, Shafee asked the court to consider that the offence amounted to sexual harrassment at the workplace where the victim was a 23-year-old employee under the charge of the accused.

“The accused called him a liar. It is a character assassination from his statement from the dock,” he said.

He asked the court to consider that the act was irresponsible and reckless with no regard to issue of disease.

“No condom was used. That is a reckless act. Being an employer, he was in a dominant position,” he said.

This caused Anwar to interject: “This is a political speech. You can say whatever. What more do you want?” he said.

Upon interjection by Justice Aziah that the court wanted to hear the prosecution’s submission, Anwar said: “This is a court of law and not a political arena,” he said.

Shafee asked the court to consider that Anwar had a previous conviction for corruption and that a Federal Court had made a remark that the PKR leader had a tendency for homosexual activities.

However, there was an outburst from Anwar, who said that he had applied to expunge the remark.

Shafee also asked the court to consider that “the accused holds public office, being MP, economic adviser to the state of Selangor and intended to contest in the Kajang by-election.

This caused screams from the public, which resulted in Justice Balia to remind them to respect the court or risk being escorted out by police.

Shafee then said the court should consider that Anwar was a former deputy prime minister and former finance minister, who had taken an aggressive stand to attack the judge, the prosecutor, the Prime Minister and the court.

“It shows unnecessary aggression without any remorse,” he said.

Karpal took the stand that he was unable to effectively mitigate for Anwar without his medical report.

In sentencing, Justice Balia said: “This court finds you guilty and convicts you of the offence. You are sentenced to imprisonment for five years.”

Anwar, 67, was granted a stay of execution pending an appeal with a bail of RM10,000 in one surety to be posted by 11am on Monday.

His family members were in tears upon hearing the verdict.

Justice Balia Yusof Wahi, who chaired a three-man panel, held that the trial judge had misdirected in his finding that the integrity of the samples had been compromised.

Related stories:

Kajang by elections: Game over for Anwar in Kajang

Pressmen crowd Anwar trial

‘Govt has no influence on court decisions’

Presence of third party DNA not a coincidence, says Anwar’s counsel

IGP: Don’t hold any protest

Saiful grateful over court decision

Tags / Keywords: Courts Crime , anwar ibrahim , sodomy2 , Politics , Kajang by election , Barisan Nasional , PKR


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