Judge recuses himself again, Anwar’s sodomy conviction appeal adjourned

(FMT) – Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal against a High Court decision to strike out his suit in connection with his conviction for sodomising a former aide has been postponed after a Court of Appeal judge recused himself from the hearing.

This is the second time that Kamaludin Md Said is recusing himself from the case.

At the outset of today’s proceedings, Gopal Sri Ram, appearing for Anwar, brought to the attention of the three-member bench that Kamaludin, its chairman, had disqualified himself from hearing this matter in the High Court.

Kamaludin, who sat with Has Zanah Mehat and Ahmad Nasfy Yasin, then said he personally was of the view he should not be on the bench.

“Moreover, I was involved in the appellant’s (Anwar) case as a federal counsel in 1999,” he said during a virtual proceeding, referring to the time before he was elevated to High Court judge.

Federal counsel Suzana Atan, appearing for the public prosecutor as a respondent, and lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, representing lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as an intervener, said they left it to the bench.

Sri Ram said Kamaludin’s recusal was Anwar’s loss. “My Lord is taking the safest course (of action),” he said.

On Nov 8, 2017, the High Court had struck out Anwar’s originating summons on grounds that the case did not have any cause of action and was an abuse of the court process.

Anwar said the Court of Appeal’s decision in 2014 to convict him of sodomising Saiful Bukhari Azlan was carried out in an unconstitutional manner.

He claimed Shafee had received RM9.5 million from Najib Razak to lead the prosecution team in the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, beginning in 2013.

In the 2012 Sodomy 2 trial in the High Court, Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah had found Anwar not guilty.

The Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal and sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment.

On Feb 10, 2015, the Federal Court affirmed the conviction and jail term. However, Anwar was given a full pardon by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on May 16, 2018.

In early September 2018, Siti Rahayu Mohd Mumazaini, who served under former attorney-general Tommy Thomas, filed an affidavit to support Anwar’s appeal (now in the Court of Appeal) to revive his suit made against the government.

Siti Rahayu said the cheques were deposited into Shafee’s CIMB Bank account on Sept 13, 2013 and Feb 17, 2014.

Shafee is attempting to expunge Siti Rahayu’s affidavit while the public prosecutor supports the inclusion of her statement but is taking the position that the High Court was right to strike out Anwar’s suit.