It’s safe to convict Anwar, says Court of Appeal


(Bernama) – It is safe for the court to convict Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pix) on the charge of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan as there was ample evidence which could be confirmed and proved, ruled the Court of Appeal here.

The court said, even assuming there was no corroboration to support Mohd Saiful’s evidence on the factum of penetration, it was safe to convict the respondent (Anwar).

The Court of Appeal three-member panel of judges led by Justice Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi in an 85-page written judgement dated April 11, said there were also other evidence from which elements of the charge could be confirmed and proved.

In the judgement released to the press today, the court held that the issue of contamination and possible tampering of DNA samples taken from Mohd Saiful by the case’s investigation officer Superintendent Jude Blacious Pereira were also not proven.

“In our considered opinion the contention that the investigation officer had tampered with the exhibits (the samples) is devoid of any merit. We do not see how the learned trial judge could be faulted in his findings,” said the judges.

On the insinuation by the defence that Jude had tampered with the exhibits, they said, the court did not find that his act of cutting open the exhibits amounted to tampering of the exhibits.

The coram said they noted the explanation given by Jude that in doing so, he had merely complied with the Inspector-General of Police Standing Order.

The other judges who heard the appeal were justices Datuk Aziah Ali and Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh.

On March 7, the Court of Appeal overturned the Jan 9, 2012 High Court’s decision acquitting Anwar of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 26, at a Desa Damansara condominium unit in Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

The panel also said they found no ground to disturb the findings of the trial judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah on the issue of credibility of Mohd Saiful and there was nothing improbable about his evidence.

“It is trite law that credibility of witnesses is domain of the trial judge. We are satisfied that the learned trial judge had sufficiently considered and appreciated the evidence of first prosecution witness (Mohd Saiful),” said the panel.

They said the court had scrutinised the evidence of Mohd Saiful carefully and the coram were in full agreement with the High Court Judge when he found that it was not difficult to understand why Mohd Saiful had acted in the way despite insisting he did not consent to Anwar’s act.

The Bench said the court also agreed with the finding of the High Court Judge on the credibility of Mohd Saiful and there was nothing improbable about his evidence.

They also held that the delay in lodging the police report over the sodomy allegations was not fatal by itself to the prosecution’s case as long as there was cogent and acceptable explanation offered for the delay.

Mohd Saiful had lodged the police report on June 28, 2008, two days after the incident.

On the issue of identification of “Male Y”, the court also held that the evidence of chemist Nor Aidora Saedon attached to the Chemistry Department of Malaysia was essential.

The judges said Nor Aidora developed the DNA profiles of “Male Y” from exhibits of a white toothbrush, a “Good Morning” towel and an empty mineral water plastic bottle obtained from the lock-up cell in which Anwar was the sole occupant.

“After having conducted her analysis, Nor Aidora found that “Male Y” is the same contributor of the DNA retrieved from the exhibits recovered from the lock-up and she came to the conclusion that the contributor of the DNA and “Male Y” is from the same source.

The Bench further held that the law would fail to protect the community if it admitted fanciful possibilities to deflect the course of justice.

Anwar was released on RM10,000 bail with one surety pending his appeal at the Federal Court against this ruling. He was represented by counsels the late Karpal Singh, Ramkarpal Singh, Sangeet Kaur while the prosecution was led by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.