Shafee as prosecutor against Anwar’s acquittal: Federal Court to decide November 21

V Anbalagan, TMI

The Federal Court will deliver on November 21 its decision on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal to stop lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pic) from leading the prosecution team to overturn his acquittal for sodomy last year.

A five-man bench led by Tan Sri Raus Sharif said it needed time to deliberate on the submissions before delivering the written grounds.

Anwar’s argument was that only a full-time deputy public prosecutor can appear in court.

He also contended that Shafee was a potential witness during the sodomy trial and as such there was conflict of interest.

Shafee argued he was qualified to be ad hoc deputy public prosecutor because he was a “fit and proper” person as required under the law.

Whatever the outcome in the Federal Court, Putrajaya’s appeal against the acquittal of Anwar for sexual misconduct will be heard in the Court of Appeal for two days from December 11.

Lawyer Karpal Singh, who is appearing for the opposition leader, told the court today only a full-time deputy public prosecutor could represent the public prosecutor in a criminal case.

“It does not matter under which provision of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) Shafee is appointed,” he said.

The veteran lawyer added that Shafee was a potential witness for the prosecution during trial and he was also offered as a witness to the defence.

Karpal urged the court to also look into the issue of public perception when Shafee admitted he was in the Prime Minister’s house when the alleged sodomy victim Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan was there to meet Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“Now this person wants to represent the public prosecutor in the sodomy appeal,” Karpal added.

He said no doubt the prime minister’s residence was large but questioned what was Shafee doing there in the first place.

“In the eyes of the public, an adverse perception can be drawn and that is enough to show conflict of interest,” he said.