Malaysia

Sodomy II written judgment unlike ruling for Anwar’s defence

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Justice Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah’s ruling released today that Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan’s sodomy accusations against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim were uncorroborated appears to be in sharp contrast from the High Court judge’s findings at the end of the prosecution case that the testimony was by a credible witness.

In the written judgment of the Sodomy II trial released today, Mohamad Zabidin said accuser Mohd Saiful’s allegation that he was sodomised by Anwar was uncorroborated, and a conviction based solely on the accuser’s testimony would have been unsafe.

But when the prosecution closed its case last year, he had said then that not only was Mohd Saiful credible but that the evidence was reliable.

In the judgment released today, the judge said that he could not be 100 per cent certain about the integrity of DNA samples examined by government chemist Dr Seah Lay Hong.

He ruled that it was not safe to rely on the results of Dr Seah’s examination of the DNA evidence.

“This being a sexual offence, it is trite law that the court is always reluctant to convict an accused person based solely on the uncorroborated evidence of the complainant. Therefore the accused is acquitted and discharged of the charge,” he ruled, based on a copy of the judgment made available to The Malaysian Insider.

On January 9, the High Court acquitted Anwar of a charge of sodomising his former male aide Mohd Saiful.

Speaking in court then, the judge had ruled that the prosecution had not done enough to prove Anwar had committed sodomy against Saiful.

But Mohd Zabidin’s written grounds of judgment released today differed with his decision to order Anwar to enter his defence on May 16 last year.

He had previously concluded there was a prima facie case against the opposition leader.

Ironically, the judge’s ruling back then was based on Mohd Saiful’s testimony as well as lab findings of government chemists, the same reasons for Anwar’s acquittal.

“Prosecution proven all facts to define charge. Prima facie case made out against accused. Accused therefore called to enter defence,” said Mohd Zabidin (picture) then.

Anwar’s lawyers had throughout the course of the long-drawn trial attacked the credibility of the star witness Mohd Saiful as well as the lab findings of the government chemists.

They had charged that Anwar’s accuser had lied in open court, and that there were many loopholes in his testimony.

The judge had, however, quashed all arguments relating to Saiful’s credibility, and ruled that the complainant’s testimony was indeed reliable.

“I found PW1 credible witness, his evidence reliable,” said Mohd Zabidin last year.

He had also ruled that there was nothing “inconsistent” with clinical findings by Hospital Kuala Lumpur specialists in the case.

“All three doctors testified positively, conclude there was penile penetration,” said the trial judge.

But in the written judgment released today, Mohd Zabidin addressed the question of the integrity of the DNA samples.

The judge pointed out that the DNA samples collected had been placed in individual plastic receptacles, labelled and sealed at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, but were subsequently open by the police investigating officer DSP Jude Pereira.

“According to him (Pereira), it was done for the purpose of individually re-labelling the receptacles. In my view, this was not necessary since the receptacles were already packed and labelled by the experts who collected them,” he said.

Anwar, 64, had been similarly indicted of sodomy over a decade ago and was found guilty. He spent six years in jail before being exonerated.

The High Court’s decision this time had given a boost to Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact’s plans to take over Putrajaya.

The prosecution says it plans to appeal the decision and has 10 days from today to do so.

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