Is Anwar Ibrahim going to jail?


But if the Federal Court agrees with the prosecution regarding Anwar’s sworn testimony, or rather the absence of it, plus regarding the 13 witnesses who later got cold feet when they found out about the CCTV recording, then Anwar is going in, probably with a 4-1 majority.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Anwar given 5 years’ jail after appellate court reverses sodomy acquittal

(Malay Mail Online, 7 March 2014) — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was today sentenced to five years’ jail after the Court of Appeal overturned his previous sodomy acquittal, ruling that the trial judge erred in rejecting the DNA evidence adduced.

The three-men bench led by Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi, Datuk Aziah Ali and Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh unanimously decided that the High Court failed to “critically evaluate” the evidence submitted by government chemist Dr Seah Lay Hong.

The bench delivered their decision in 90 minutes after hearing submissions from both parties in yesterday and today.

Balia said that High Court Datuk Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah had wrongly concluded that investigating officer Jude Blacious Pereira may have compromised DNA samples submitted as evidence when he opened a sealed bag in which they were kept.

“We are of the view that had the learned judge properly and correctly appreciated that the so-called tampering was solely to P27 (the bag containing the test tubes holding the samples), he would not have come to the conclusion that by cutting open P27, the confidence and integrity of the samples was gone and the samples had been compromised before they reached PW5 (Dr Seah) for analysis,” Balia said.

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On Tuesday, 10th February 2015, the Federal Court will be delivering its verdict as to whether the trial judge was right in acquitting Anwar Ibrahim of the charge of sodomy or whether the Appeal Court was right instead in overturning this acquittal and in sentencing Anwar to a jail term of five years.

Basically, the disagreement between the trial judge and the Appeal Court was regarding whether the samples taken from Anwar’s lockup were obtained legally or illegally and whether they had been subsequently tampered with.

The Federal Court will be focusing more on the conduct of the trial rather than whether it believes Anwar is guilty or innocent. If you can remember, on 2nd September 2004, the Federal Court acquitted Anwar of sodomy, which he received a nine-year jail sentence for, and in the same breath the court said it believes Anwar is guilty but then the prosecution failed to prove it.

That statement was probably the first of its kind and created some brouhaha. Here was a Federal Court saying that it is acquitting someone because of the poor performance of the prosecutor in proving guilt of someone that the court believes is guilty. Most unusual indeed!

Anwar actually sued to try to get that statement expunged from the record but failed. Hence that statement stays on record.

Anwar’s legal team initially took the line of defence by alibi. In other words, Anwar could not have possibly done what he was alleged to have done because he has witnesses to prove he was never alone with Saiful Bukhari Azlan at that particular time and place. And he has 13 witnesses to support this alibi. So the defence filed a notice that it would be calling 13 witnesses to testify in Anwar’s favour.

But that was before they found out about the CCTV recording that showed the movements of various people in and out of the condo. When they realised that the CCTV recording would prove this alibi false, they dropped the plan to call these witnesses, one who was the condo owner and the other Anwar’s wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

This definitely did not work in Anwar’s favour and the prosecution went to town on this. Why did Anwar’s defence file a notice to call 13 witnesses and then after they found out about the CCTV recording that would demolish their testimony they dropped the plan to call these witnesses who would give Anwar an alibi?

Until today this matter has not been explained and this one point created a lot of doubts in the minds of the Anwarinas, many who later turned from him.

The second very damaging move was the statement from the dock that Anwar made. An unsworn statement from the dock is treated as testimony that is not admissible and which cannot be cross-examined. Hence its value is greatly diminished. Anwar might as well have spoken in a DAP ceramah for all that it is worth.

Why did Anwar not take the stand and testify? He could have told his story as a sworn testimony and then allow the prosecution to try to demolish this story and prove him a liar. And if the prosecution fails then some doubts would have been created as to whether Anwar did really commit the crime and in the event of any doubts the benefit of the doubt needs to be given to the accused.

But Anwar did not do this and he lost the opportunity to allow the prosecution to try to prove him a liar whereby if they failed to prove him a liar then Anwar would have to be declared innocent. And under this situation the Appeal Court would have found it impossible to overturn the acquittal.

As I said, the issue is not whether Anwar is innocent or guilty. At this stage it no longer matters. What matters is that Anwar did not testify under oath to defend himself and the defence of alibi that they started on was later abandoned when the witnesses they said they were going to call were never called in the end.

Anwar’s silence (other than his ceramah from the dock, which has no value) plus the silence of those witnesses who were initially supposed to help give Anwar an alibi more or less appeared like an admission of guilt.

So is Anwar going to walk free on 10th February? Anwar says he is because there is no evidence to nail him, if all they are depending on is the ‘illegal’ DNA samples that were later ‘tampered’ with, as what the trial judge ruled.

But if the Federal Court agrees with the prosecution regarding Anwar’s sworn testimony, or rather the absence of it, plus regarding the 13 witnesses who later got cold feet when they found out about the CCTV recording, then Anwar is going in, probably with a 4-1 majority.