KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim chose to give his evidence from the dock in his ongoing sodomy trial.
High Court judge Justice Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah gave Anwar three options – whether to give his evidence from the witness stand which meant he could be cross-examined by the prosecution, to give his evidence from the dock which meant he could not be cross-examined by the prosecution, or to elect to remain silent.
Anwar read his 31-page statement saying the circumstances compelled him to elect to make a statement from the dock.
“In this statement, I shall attempt my utmost to place the truth ahead of the web of lies and deceit that has been spun thus far,” he told the court yesterday.
Anwar told the court that he found the judgment by the court at the end of the prosecution’s case that found complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan to be a truthful witness was prejudged and premature.
He said, at the end of prosecution’s case, the court should only decide whether the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.
“I have been denied the benefit of putting up my defence under oath. That amounts to deprivation of a fair trial and the existence of a level playing field,” he told the court.
Earlier, at the start of his statement, Anwar denied he had any sexual relations with his former aide Mohd Saiful.
“I state, in no uncertain terms, that I have never had any sexual relations with the complainant, Mohd Saiful. Saiful’s allegation is a blatant and vicious lie and will be proved to be so,” he said.
Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden said he did not expect Anwar to give his evidence from the dock and therefore asked the court for some time to prepare.
“It was more like a running commentary or a political speech. I would love to cross-examine Anwar and I would need some time to do research on ways which I can cross-examine the accused,” he said.
Outside the courtroom, defence counsel, S.N. Nair told reporters that seven witnesses would be subpoenaed to testify at the trial.
The seven are Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and senior police officer Senior Asst Comm Datuk Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof and three others.
On Aug 7, 2008, Anwar claimed trial to sodomising his former personal aide Mohd Saiful at a condominium in Bukit Damansara here on June 26, 2008.
On May 16, Anwar was ordered by the High Court to enter his defence.
The trial continues today.