Cut-open bag raised doubts about samples, says judge

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 04 Jul 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: A plastic bag containing samples taken from Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan was cut open, thus raising questions over the integrity of the specimens, a trial judge ruled when he acquitted Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the Opposition Leader’s sodomy charge.

In his written judgment dated Jan 9 that was made available yesterday, High Court judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah said the confidence in the samples was gone when investigating officer DSP Jude Blacious Pereira cut open the plastic bag at his office.

The judge said the prosecution’s evidence had shown that all samples were put individually in plastic receptacles, labelled and sealed by forensic pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Feng of the Kuala Lumpur Hospital. He added that they were then put in a tamper-proof plastic bag and heat-sealed.

Justice Mohamad Zabidin said the whole purpose of packing, labelling and sealing by experts was to maintain the integrity of the samples and the chain of custody.

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

Justice Mohamad Zabidin said the collection of samples from the complainant was done by three doctors – emergency care specialist Dr Khairul Nizam Hassan, general surgeon Dr Mohd Razali Ibrahim and Dr Siew.

“Whether evidence from these three doctors could corroborate Mohd Saiful’s (evidence) on factum of penetration depended heavily on whether chemist Dr Seah Lay Hong’s finding and reporting could be relied or not,” he said, adding it also relied heavily on the integrity of samples.

Justice Mohamad Zabidin said the court was left only with the evidence of Mohd Saiful to prove penetration.

Besides that, he said, it was the testimony of forensic pathologist Assoc Prof Dr David Lawrence Noel Wells and molecular geneticist Dr Brian Leslie Mc Donald that it was unlikely any traces of semen could be retrieved after more than 36 hours after sexual assault.

Datuk Kamaluddin Md Said, who is the appellate and trial division chief, said that the prosecution had received the record of appeal on Monday and has 10 days to file a petition of appeal over Anwar’s acquittal.

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