Appeals court sets date before appeal is filed

(The Star) KUALA LUMPUR: The Court of Appeal has set the date for Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal to recuse the judge in his sodomy trial even before he filed his petition of appeal.

His lawyer Sankara Nair said the Court of Appeal registrar notified them on Wednesday that the appeal would be heard at 9am on March 19.

“What is uniquely strange is the unprecedented manner in which the Court of Appeal has acted in its perceived alacrity and super efficiency in fixing a hearing date even before we, as solicitors, have filed a Petition of Appeal.

“The Rules of the Court of Appeal 1994 state that wherein upon the receipt of the Appeal Records, the Petitioner (Anwar) has 10 days to file a petition of appeal and only and only after the filing of the said petition will the Court of Appeal fix a hearing date of the Appeal,” Sankara said in a an e-mail to the media.

In this case, he said he had received the appeal records from the High Court on March 1, giving him 10 days — that is until March 11 — under the rules to file Anwar’s petition of appeal and its grounds.

“In this case I have not filed the petition, yet to my sheer amazement, I was notified today (March 3) by the Court of Appeal that it has already fixed a hearing date.

“The unprecedented manner in which the Court of Appeal has acted is disturbing and outrageous.”

On Feb 18, Anwar failed to get judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah to recuse himself from further hearing his sodomy trial.

Anwar filed his notice of appeal to the Court of Appeal on Feb 19.

Sankara said it was noteworthy that when Anwar had previously made various appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court by also filing a certificate of urgency for an early hearing, he had not seen such efficiency as in this instance.

“There seems to be a clear case of discrimination towards Anwar in the Court of Appeal’s blatant disregard for the Rules and this is wholly unacceptable,” he added.

When contacted, Sankara said he was in the process of preparing the petition as he was bound by the hearing date.