Defence under enormous pressure, says counsel


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 02 Apr 2003

By RAPHAEL WONG

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial “oppressed” the defence during their attempts to prove the alibi of the two accused, a counsel told the Court of Appeal yesterday. 

Gorbind Singh Deo, counsel for Anwar’s adopted brother and co-appellant Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja, said the defence team were placed under enormous pressure to produce a 90-day alibi for both appellants after the prosecution amended the charge a second time during the trial. 

Trial judge Justice Arifin Jaka, he added, did not ease the defence’s burden as he refused to allow them an adjournment for time to file a fresh notice of alibi but instead ordered that the evidence of alibi be adduced during the course of the proceedings. 

Gobind Singh Deo said the amount of time, effort and trouble spent on producing witnesses to testify would have been unnecessary if then Attorney-General (A-G) Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah had investigated Anwar’s alibi. 

“Then we would have been able to concentrate on the other aspects of our defence. This again shows that the mala fide (bad faith) of the (then) A-G,” he said. 

Gobind Singh Deo said Mohtar, who had objected to the defence’s application for an adjournment to file the notice of alibi, had told the High Court the prosecution had records of Anwar’s whereabouts. 

However, he said, as the trial advanced, records for the year 1993 could not be produced. 

Court of Appeal judge Justice Pajan Singh Gill then asked who were the keepers of those records. 

In response to the question, Anwar stood up from the dock and explained that his personal and office diaries while he was the Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, which the police confiscated during his arrest, were returned to him. 

However, he said, the critical diary in question, which was for the year of 1993, was not given back to him and the present A-G Datuk Seri Abdul Gani Patail had told him it was missing. 

Anwar added that the diaries did not disclose the times of his movements, unlike the police records from the sentry guarding his then official residence and from his ADC.  

Gobind Singh Deo then questioned the fairness accorded to Sukma, noting that the defence had to put up with rulings from the trial judge that were illogical. 

He added: “There is more than enough material presented to this court for it to grant an acquittal to my client Sukma, who is clearly a victim of circumstances.” 

On Aug 8, 2000, the High Court convicted Anwar of sodomising Azizan. He was ordered to serve a nine-year sentence after completing his six-year jail term for corrupt practice by interfering in police investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct against him. 

Sukma was also convicted of the same offence and additionally found guilty of abetting Anwar to sodomise Azizan at his apartment in Bangsar between January and March 1993. He was sentenced to six years’ jail and two strokes of the rotan for each offence. 

Submissions from the prosecution begin on Monday before a three-men bench comprising Justices Pajan Singh Gill, Richard Malanjum and Hashim Mohd Yusoff.  

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