Anwar’s application frivolous, says prosecution

By Lisa Goh, The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s application to disqualify High Court Judge Justice Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah from hearing his ongoing sodomy trial is frivolous and actuated by malafide, the prosecution said Friday.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Hanafiah Zakaria in his submission said the claims of intimidation by Justice Mohd Zabidin was misconceived and unwarranted.

“It is a well-settled law that there is clearly no basis to recuse a trial judge merely because ruling was made against an applicant.

“It was preposterous to apply for the recusal merely because the judgment or ruling was given not in the applicant’s favour,” he submitted.

Mohd Hanafiah had submitted as Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden was still absent as he was unwell.

Hanafiah added that Justice Mohd Zabidin’s comment that an application to recuse a judge could tantamount to contempt of the court was “clearly an advice, and reminder at its highest”, and not an intimidation, as alleged by Anwar.

“There is no shred of intimidation whatsoever. There was not an iota of evidence which could be said to give rise to any real danger of bias in this case,” he said asking that the application be dismissed.

The High Court fixed Dec 6 for Justice Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah to rule on whether he will recuse himself from hearing the trial.

On Tuesday, Anwar’s lead counsel Karpal Singh had told the court that Justice Mohd Zabidin should be disqualified for dismissing Anwar’s application for access to the Hospital Kuala Lumpur doctors medical notes.

He had claimed that in dismissing Anwar’s application and in rejecting his appeal to reconsider, Justice Mohd Zabidin had misinterpreted a 1993 Supreme Court ruling, which set a precedence, and he had instructions from Anwar to file the recusal application.

That was when Justice Mohd Zabidin had said Karpal was responsible for his client and that he could be cited for contempt.

Karpal had retorted then that this amounted to intimidation of counsel, which became the basis of the recusal application.

This is the second time Anwar has filed an application to recuse the trial judge.

The first was filed in March, with Anwar accusing the judge of bias for not initiating contempt action against Utusan Malaysia for being mischievous, and disruption to a fair trial. That application was dismissed.

Anwar, 63, is on trial for allegedly sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, his former personal aide on June 26, 2008.