A-G: Court of Appeal can't hear bail requests


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003

BY RAPHAEL WONG

KUALA LUMPUR: The Court of Appeal does not have the jurisdiction to hear the bail applications of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his adopted brother Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail submitted. 

Abdul Gani said careful examination of the Courts of Judicature Act reveals that only the Federal Court had the jurisdiction to grant the two men a stay of execution of their sodomy charges, pending their appeals to that court.  

“We respectfully submit that the Court of Appeal has no power to grant a stay of execution and that where the law does not confer any power to the court to exercise a stay of execution, the court would be acting beyond its limit if it does so,” he said. 

He also urged the appellate court comprising Court of Appeal judges Justices Pajan Singh Gill, Richard Malanjum and Hashim Mohd Yusoff to examine the law carefully to avoid “opening the floodgates” to other similar applications. 

“It is a clear demarcation of the court’s powers. The court is well structured and that is where it retains its integrity with each court playing its role and abiding by its jurisdiction,” he said. 

Abdul Gani further submitted that Anwar and Sukma have failed to show “special reasons” for them to be given a stay of execution pending their appeals to the Federal Court. 

“It is our humble submission that a stay of execution is not automatic and should not be given as of right. Good grounds of appeal cannot constitute a special reason to grant the stay,” he said. 

He said although there were no legal authorities to determine the standard of proving the “special reasons”, it must be beyond the balance of probabilities but not beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Earlier, Sukma’s counsel Gobind Singh Deo submitted that his client neither posed any political threat nor was he a threat to national security. 

“In fact, he is not even capable of stirring up any unrest,” he said, adding that to date Sukma has never interfered nor tampered with any prosecution witnesses. 

He said the prosecution had every right to object to his client’s bail but the Court of Appeal’s duty was to strike them down and show justice prevails. 

“Let not Sukma suffer for the other efforts being made to deny Anwar’s bail,” he added. 

Justice Pajan Singh Gill then retorted: “Be cautious with your language young man. It is bordering contempt”. 

On April 18, the same quorum of Court of Appeal judges dismissed both Anwar’s and Sukma’s appeal against a High Court decision on Aug 8, 2000, convicting them of sodomising Anwar’s former driver, Azizan Abu Bakar, in Sukma’s apartment at Tivoli Villa, here, between January and March 1993. 

The appellate court also revoked Sukma’s stay of execution, thereby compelling him to serve his six-year jail sentence in Kajang Prison. 

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