KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 – THE Federal Court reserved its judgment on opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy conviction and five-year jail sentence. The five-man bench, chaired by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, deferred their verdict after thanking all parties for their submissions. The other members of the bench are Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong and Datuk Ramly Ali.
“In view of the submissions and case laws before us, we will need some time (to go through them),” he said. The apex court, which sat over the longest appeal hearing in its history, extended Anwar’s RM10,000 bail with one surety. The hearing, initially set for two days from Oct 28, went on for eight days as both defence and prosecution presented lengthy submissions.
Anwar’s legal team was led by retired Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram. Earlier, as proceedings came to a close, the court informed lead prosecutor Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah that he need not submit a rebuttal to submissions by Anwar’s legal team. Shafee sought the court’s permission to submit on the defence’s submission touching on sodomy complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan’s credibility.
Arifin told Shafee that he need not submit because his submission did not raise new issues. When proceedings began yesterday, Sri Ram submitted that the High Court had misdirected itself as it did not sufficiently evaluate Saiful’s oral testimony. He argued that once Saiful’s credibility was found lacking, corroboration was irrelevant even if it was ample.
Sri Ram said this was because Saiful “is a broken tree, a worthless witness, a man devoid of any credibility, a man with a motive”. He was referring to his submissions made in the course of the appeal hearing that Saiful’s credibility was jeopardised by his oral evidence that he squeezed lubricant onto a carpet at the condominium unit where the sodomy allegedly took place.
Sri Ram submitted, among others, that the carpet was found with no forensic trace of said lubricant. He said the High Court should have admitted a photograph allegedly showing Saiful serving tea to Anwar at the latter’s house a day after the alleged sodomy happened. Sri Ram said as Saiful had earlier admitted that he was the person in the picture, the High Court should have admitted the photograph as evidence.
Anwar was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail on March 7 by the Court of Appeal for committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature on Saiful, 29, at a condominium unit at Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008. The 67-year-old was previously acquitted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Jan 9, 2012.
If Anwar loses his appeal, he would be disqualified as Permatang Pauh member of parliament as per Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution, which states that an MP would be disqualified if he or she is sentenced to a jail term of more than a year, or fined more than RM2,000. Outside court, Shafee denied Anwar’s claim that he allegedly threatened to “put the nail on his (Anwar) coffin”.
“Never. I have never said that. I’ve never said pin or needle or nail. I never even said coffin. I’ve said nothing of that sort,” Shafee said. (for online) Anwar did not state when and where Shafee had made the ramarks. Shafee also denied claims that the case was politically influenced. “This case involves a politician but is not politically motivated. As far as we are concerned, it is a politician who is involved”, he said.
Meanwhile, Police said they will not hesitate to take action against anyone who tries to rile up the public to go against the Federal Court’s decision. Acting deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the acts include conducting illegal rallies, riots and activities that disrupt the peace. “The public is advised to cooperate with the court in its ruling so that justice can be done to the parties involved.
“The supporters (of Anwar and Saiful) must accept whatever the decision ruled by the court, and they are advised not to take matter into their own hands by going against the law in protest of the outcome,” he said. Additional Reporting by Hariz Mohd.