Wednesday, August 5

‘PMO did not interfere in Anwar’s conviction’

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Supporters of Saiful Bukhari gathered outside the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya yesterday. — Bernama photo

Supporters of Saiful Bukhari gathered outside the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya yesterday. — Bernama photo

PUTRAJAYA: There was no interference by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in relation to Federal Court decision to uphold Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction and five-year jail sentence for sodomising his former aide, the Federal Court was told yesterday.

The Attorney-General Chambers Trials and Appellate Division head Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, who is leading the prosecution team, argued that the PMO had no knowledge whatsoever on the outcome of the Federal Court decision on Feb 10, 2015.

Ahmad Kamal said furthermore the Federal Court was totally independent of any other body in its decision making.

“All the insinuations and innuendos that the PMO knew about the decision beforehand are wrong, baseless and irresponsible. That is fortified by the fact that the applicant (Anwar) was acquitted in the High Court,” he said.

He further said that any other innuendos were therefore misplaced and ill conceived, devoid of any merits and should be rejected totally.

Ahmad Kamal submitted that there was also no communication whatsoever between PMO and the Federal Court either prior or subsequent to the decision.

“In the affidavit-in-reply affirmed by Datuk Seri Tengku Shariffuddin Tengku Ahmad who was the director of the Media Division at the PMO, explained that it is also a normal practice for PMO to issue an immediate response by way of media statement on the matter,” submitted Ahmad Kamal.

Tengku Shariffuddin had filed the affidavit to reply to Anwar’s affidavit to support his review application.

Ahmad Kamal was submitting at the hearing of Anwar’s review application to set aside his sodomy conviction and five-year jail sentence for sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 31.

The appeal is being heard by a five-man bench led by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin. The others on the panel are Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Federal Court Judges Tan Sri Hasan Lah, Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin and Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim.

Ahmad Kamal stressed that it was a normal practice for the PMO to prepare two separate media statements because the decision had to be either one of two possibilities, that was acquittal or conviction.

On the conduct of lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdulah who had led the prosecution’s appeals at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, which discussed evidence in camera proceedings, during a road show after the decision, Ahmad Kamal said that the alleged conduct had not influenced the Federal Court in arriving at the decision.

“If at all, there was any such misconduct, which I say is not the case, that is water under the bridge,” he said, adding that Muhammad Shafee’s conduct had no bearing on the outcome of the Federal Court.

Relating to the integrity of evidence on carpets, KY jelly and DNA raised by Anwar’s lawyer Datuk Sri Gopal Sri Ram, Ahmad Kamal pointed out that the points had no relevance in the review application.

He said the points had only relevance at the appeals stage and even if the court had wrongly applied points of law, that was not for this court to come to another conclusion.

Ahmad Kamal said the issue of alleged mis-evaluation of evidence or misdirection was ultra vires the review powers under Rule 137 of Federal Court Rules and that the applicant (Anwar) had failed to bring his complaint under this Rule.

Earlier, Sri Ram had argued that the PMO’s statement which was issued 15 minutes after the decision showed that there was a political conspiracy against his client and that the PMO had a personal interest in the case.

Sri Ram said that it was not a practice for the PMO to make media statements or comments in a criminal case.

He also raised the conduct of Muhammad Shafee for holding a roadshow after the decision saying that it aimed at tarnishing Anwar’s reputation as he had revealed in camera proceedings in a public forum.

“He discussed evidence which was held in camera in a public event. His conduct is politically motivated. He is the puppet and the puppet master is elsewhere,” said Sri Ram.

He said he had been practising for 50 years but had never seen a DPP ever going for a road show to explain to public what happened in camera proceedings as they were professionals.

The panel then reserved its judgment on Anwar’s review application to a date to be fixed later.

Justice Zulkefli said the panel did not want to make a decision in a rush as they needed to consider the submissions from the defence and prosecution.

Anwar, 69, had filed the review application seeking the Federal Court to invoke Rule 137 of the Rules of the Federal Court 1995 and review the decision of the five-member panel of the Federal Court led by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria.

Alternatively, he wants the Federal Court to re-hear his appeal on its merits.

Anwar is currently serving a five-year jail term at the Sungai Buloh Prison after the Federal Court, on Feb 10, 2015, upheld his conviction and sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal on March 7, 2014.

He was alleged to have committed the offence at Unit 11-5-1 of Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Outside the Palace of Justice, about 1,000 Anwar’s supporters had gathered as early as 7am but there were no untoward incidents. — Bernama