Court finds Anwar’s defence on sodomy charge not credible


V. Anbalagan, The Malaysian Insider

The Court of Appeal which convicted Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy last month held that the opposition leader’s statement from the dock during the trial was not credible as it was a bare denial.

Judges Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi, Datuk Aziah Ali and Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh in their judgment, which was made available today, said Anwar’s denial when ordered to enter his defence did not amount to creating doubt in the prosecution’s case.

“A credible defence is one that answers the evidence thrown at it by the prosecution. It is also imperative that the respondent (Anwar) explain his case,” the 85-page judgment read.

In a criminal trial an accused has the option to give evidence from the witness box, give an unsworn statement from the dock, or remain silent.

The judgment stated that it was incumbent upon Anwar to adduce evidence which could answer the allegations in the charge.

“In this case, the respondent did not even deny that he was at the scene of the crime at the material time and date as stated in the charge,” the judgment said.

On March 7, the bench led by Balia sentenced the de facto PKR leader to five years’ jail, after allowing Putrajaya’s appeal to set aside the High Court’s decision which had acquitted him in 2012.

However, the court allowed a stay of execution pending the outcome of Anwar’s appeal to the Federal Court on condition he posted RM10,000 bail with one surety.

Anwar, 66, committed sodomy on his aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, at an upscale condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.

The punishment for such an act under Section 377B of the Penal Code carries a jail term of up to 20 years and the offender shall also be liable to whipping.

Anwar has appealed against the conviction and the sentence, while Putrajaya has submitted a cross-appeal to increase the jail term.

The judgment stated that Anwar had given a notice of alibi that he was not at the crime scene before the commencement of the trial, but did not pursue this defence for reasons best known to him.