On borrowed time, Anwar struggles with Karpal’s replacement


(The Malay Mail) – With five days to appeal against his conviction in the Sodomy II trial, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is yet to fill the gap left by the late veteran lawyer and ally, Karpal Singh.

The PKR de facto leader told a crowd of 800 here that he must look for a lawyer to take charge of the appeal against his second sodomy conviction by the end of today, in order to file the petition of appeal on time.

“Not only am I about to go prison but I also have to look for the money to pay legal fees,” said Anwar jokingly, at the Reformasi 2.0 ceramah at the Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency.

“But that is for me to worry. What I want from you here is to know the truth and judge accordingly,” he said.

Karpal was killed in a fatal accident last Thursday when the vehicle he was travelling in collided with a five-tonne lorry near Gua Tempurung in Gopeng, Perak. The accident also claimed the life of his long-time assistant, Michael Cornelius.

The former DAP chairman and Bukit Gelugor MP had been due to file the petition of appeal at the appellate court on April 24, a day prior to the expiry of the ten-day deadline on Friday.

Karpal had appeared as Anwar’s lead counsel since the former deputy prime minister’s first sodomy charge against him in 1998.

Karpal had taken up the case on a pro bono basis and fought relentlessly for the past 15 years, said the Anwar today.

Other speakers at the event last night alleged that the Court of Appeal’s ruling was politically motivated, accusing the judges of noting events irrelevant to the case.

PKR vice-president N. Surendran pointed to the pains the judges took to defend themselves against the accusation of having hurried the judgement.

“They were defending themselves as if they were politicians,” said the Padang Serai MP, after having studied the 85-page judgement.

PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli added that not content with the damage to Anwar’s reputation, the government was still appealing for a harsher sentence despite the victory.

“On normal circumstances it is the losing party that appeals but because this is Anwar they are after, the government is appealing,” he said.

Anwar was sentenced to a five-year jail term last month after the Court of Appeal overturned his second sodomy acquittal, ruling that the High Court judge erred in rejecting DNA evidence adduced.

On January 9, 2012, Anwar was acquitted of allegedly sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at the Desa Damansara condominium on June 26, 2008.

The appellate court’s full judgement, which was delivered to Karpal’s law firm last Wednesday, among others, questioned Anwar’s decision to give his statement from the dock, which the bench found to be nothing more than a bare denial.

The bench led by Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi and assisted by Datuk Aziah Ali and Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh stated that Anwar’s statement of defence should have provided evidence with which to deflect the allegations made against him.