Karpal Singh chided for calling judge a liar

(Bernama) — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s lead counsel, Karpal Singh, was today chided for using strong words against High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah in the opposition leader’s sodomy trial.

Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, who led the prosecution team, said Karpal Singh could make his point without insulting the judge.

“To say that Your Lordship lied is a very strong word. Although we have to argue to the best of our ability for our clients, using strong language against the judge is not desirable.

“We can do so politely and certain ethics have to be preserved…we (the prosecution) are not happy…we can make our point without insulting,” he submitted at the hearing of the defence’s application for the judge to recuse himself.

Earlier, Karpal Singh said that since Mohamad Zabidin did not tell the truth by not citing Utusan Malaysia for contempt for alleged false reporting, the defence translated it as “Your Lordship’s lie”.

Anwar, 63, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor and member of parliament for Permatang Pauh, who is alleged to have sodomised his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 25, at Unit 11-5-1, Desa Damansara Condominium, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

The charge under section 377B of the Penal Code carries a maximum 20 years jail and whipping on conviction.

In his submission, Mohd Yusof said Mohamad Zabidin should not recuse himself unless there were circumstances or a situation before the court that he had acted without any objectivity.

He said bias was not proven unless the judge had a proprietary and pecuniary interest in the case.

He said the court must not lose sight of the real issues before it and whatever was reported in newspaper was extraneous.

In an application to disqualify a judge, the court must consider several points, including the test of real danger, and a well-informed public was aware that a judge was not being fair to the public by not deciding based on evidence or deciding on extraneous ground.

“This complaint against Utusan Malaysia is not an issue to be decided by this court in adjudicating a charge preferred by the state against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” he said.

Mohd Yusof said the judge’s ruling was not an outright dismissal and the defence could obtain leave before filing a motion to cite Utusan Malaysia for contempt under Order 52 of the Rules of the High Court.

He said it was wrong and erroneous for the defence team to give the impression that the court had dismissed a motion to cite the newspaper for contempt as it was not applied for formally.

Mohd Yusof said the basis of the complaint (referring to the front page report headlined ” Tak rela diliwat lagi” published on Feb 4) had been destroyed after both parties verified the matter with the notes of proceedings and the audio recording of the court.

On the second complaint on the photo caption, Mohd Yusof said the words were ambigious.

He said the details on the bed and the master bedroom were mentioned in open court and nobody could dispute it as it was stated in te notes of proceedings.

He said that in reporting the sodomy case, the reporter could have heard wrongly but they could not have done the reporting maliciously.

“Today it is proven that they reported correctly based on the court’s notes of proceedings and the defence owes the Utusan Malaysia’s reporter an apology.”

He said judges were trained to confine themselves to the evidence adduced before the court rather than what was reported in th e newspapers and it was it is too early to say that the judge was biased.

Meanwhile, Karpal Singh, called for the judge to step down as he claimed that Mohamad Zabidin was guilty for not saying what was the truth, which could be described as false and a lie.

He said that in the ruling, the judge said that the details were mentioned in open court but they were nowhere to be found in the notes of proceedings and the audio recorded by the court.

“This shows that Your Lordship lied. It is proven, it can be proven and has been proven. Your Lordship is not being honest, so Your Lordship is biased. The evidence is here, it is a finding of fact. On that ground, Your Lordship has no alternative but to step down,” he said.

Karpal Singh said that in dismissing the defence’s application to cite Utusan Malaysia for contempt, the judge had ruled that the report was not in contempt and there was no intention on the newspaper’s part to mislead.

“How could Your Lordship come to this conclusion that there is no intention? It should come from Utusan and not from this court…Your Lordship should issue show cause to Utusan Malaysia but Your Lordship has decided not to do so,” he said.

Mohamad Zabidin fixed Feb 18 to deliver his decision.