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Wednesday December 2, 2009

Sodomy, Part 2 begins next month

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has failed to get a High Court to strike out a sodomy charge against him. His trial has now been set for Jan 25 to Feb 25 next year.

Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah ruled that findings of a medical report, which suggested that there was no penetration, could not be the basis for the court to quash the charge.

The court, he said, should hear the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses first.

He said that the report which stated that there was “no conclusive clinical findings suggestive of penetration” was relevant to the defence in its attempt to create doubt against the prosecution on the issue of penetration.

“But the question of whether penetration did or did not occur cannot be decided on at this stage based solely on the medical report. It can only be determined after all the witnesses have testified,” he said yesterday.

He added that it was up to the prosecution on how they intended to prove the element of penetration, which he said was undeniably a very important element in the case.

On March 10, Anwar, 62, claimed trial to sodomising his 24-year-old former personal aide at a condominium in Bukit Damansara here on June 26, last year.

On June 17, he filed the application to set aside his sodomy charge under Section 377B of the Penal Code, and that he be acquitted and discharged.

On Anwar’s claim that the prosecution was not impartial and had malicious intent against him, Justice Mohamad Zabidin ruled that the burden to prove that the prosecution was biased lay on his (Anwar’s) shoulders.

Anwar has always contended that Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who he alleged had fabricated evidence in his 1998 “black-eye incident, was still involved in his sodomy trial now after Abdul Gani had signed a transfer certificate to move Anwar’s case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

“However, there is nothing to show that the same thing in happening in this case. Stating that this prosecuting team had knowledge of Tan Sri Abdul Gani’s role in 1998 is insufficient for the court to rule that the prosecution is biased,” said Justice Mohamad Zabidin.

He concluded, that on these grounds, Anwar’s application to quash the charge was dismissed.

Speaking to reporters later, Anwar’s counsel Sankara Nair said the defence team were concerned as Anwar’s appeal on his application for documents to prepare his defence was still pending in the Federal Court.

“We will also appeal this decision,” he said, adding that they would consider applying for a stay order on the hearing dates fixed.


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