Appeals Court judge recuses himself from hearing Anwar appeal

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): A Court of Appeal judge has recused himself from hearing an appeal brought by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over his suit to invalidate his conviction for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Justice Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said said he decided to recuse himself from hearing the case as he had handled several other cases involving Anwar when he was with the Attorney-General's Chambers.

Anwar's lawyer Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram brought to the attention of the Court of Appeal’s three-member panel that Justice Kamaludin had previously disqualified himself from hearing the matter in the High Court.

Justice Kamaludin said he was supposed to hear the case in the High Court before the case was transferred to another court.

He said he had also handled several other cases involving Anwar when he was senior federal counsel.

Anwar's appeal against the Nov 8,2017, High Court decision to allow the government's application to strike out his lawsuit, was scheduled to be heard Friday (March 5) before a panel comprising Justice Kamaludin, Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Wira Ahmad Nafsy Yasin via Zoom.

Senior federal counsel Suzana Atan appeared for the government and lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, representing lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who was allowed to intervene in this appeal, said they were leaving it to the court.

Justice Kamaludin then instructed the appeal to be sent for case management Friday to set the new appeal hearing date before another panel.

When contacted, Anwar's other lawyer J. Leela, said Court of Appeal deputy registrar Nik Serene Nik Hashim fixed June 29 for the appeal hearing.

Anwar, who is Port Dickson MP, filed the originating summons on June 9,2017, naming the government as defendant.

He (Anwar) claimed that he did not get a fair trial in the appeal against his sodomy conviction.

He also sought a declaration that his conviction by the Court of Appeal on March 7,2014, was ultra vires to the Federal Constitution and was thus null and void.

He also wanted an order that the decision by the Federal Court in upholding the Court of Appeal's decision was also ultra vires and therefore null and void.

In his affidavit, Anwar alleged that Muhammad Shafee received RM9.5mil from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to lead the prosecution team in the appeal over his sodomy conviction.

Anwar's conviction and five-year jail term for sodomising Mohd Saiful were upheld by the Federal Court. He was however given a full pardon by the King on May 16,2018. - Bernama

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