PUTRAJAYA, Oct 20 – The Federal Court has allowed Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to appeal against a lower court ruling that previously rejected his bid to defend himself in a RM100 million defamation suit by citing Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II conviction. Khairy’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told reporters here that the Federal Court has granted his client leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s August 20 decision to reject Khairy’s bid to amend his defence statement.
The two questions that Khairy’s lawyers had posed today in court were centred on the question of “partial justification”, whether or not its defence could be used in defamation suits in Malaysia and specifically in this case. Shafee told reporters that the “partial justification” defence meant his client was not saying that Anwar was homosexual, but was citing the Federal Court’s “findings of fact” in the Sodomy I case.
Anwar was first charged with sodomy in 1998 and subsequently acquitted in 2004 by the Federal Court. In its ruling the judges at the apex court had remarked on the former deputy prime minister’s alleged “seditious tendencies” – which Anwar’s lawyers failed to expunge in the Federal Court in March this year. The judges on the five-man Federal Court panel today were Tan Sri Md Rauf Sharif, Tan Sri Ahmad Maarof, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, Datuk Seri Abu Samah Noordin and Datuk Ramly Ali.
No date has been fixed yet for the appeal hearing at the Federal Court. On March 7, 2008, Anwar sued Khairy over the then Umno Youth deputy chief’s alleged defamatory words and for causing the posting on websites, including Malaysiakini.com of a video clip entitled “Anwar and kin no threat”. Anwar claimed the video clip on Malaysiakini.com contained defamatory words allegedly uttered by Khairy at a Lembah Pantai ceramah on or about Feb 20, 2008.
The Federal Court is scheduled to hear on October 28 and 29 Anwar’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s March 7 decision to overturn his Sodomy II acquittal by the High Court in 2012. The appellate court found Anwar guilty of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan 26, at a unit of the Desa Damansara condominium in Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.
The Permatang Pauh MP was sentenced to five years’ jail but was granted a stay of execution pending an appeal to the Federal Court. Anwar, a former deputy prime minister-turned-opposition leader, was charged with sodomy for the second time in his life in 2003, but acquitted by the High Court in 2012.