Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim applied to recuse the judge in his sodomy trial on the grounds that his two rulings in relation to media coverage of the trial brought “to surface an element of a real danger of bias.”. Basically, the Anwar team is trying to get judge disqualified.

Anwar, 63, made his application to recuse trial judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah through his lead counsel Karpal Singh at 9.58am in open court Monday.

Karpal said Anwar wants to disqualify the trial judge and that the sodomy trial should not proceed until the disposal of the PKR adviser’s application for recusal.

“This is a serious matter. We will be here tommorrow (Tuesday) for the hearing of the application for the judge to recuse himself,” he said.

However, lead prosecutor Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden urged the court to proceed with the sodomy trial, saying that he needed to file an affidavit-in-reply to the disqualification application.

Upon hearing the submissions by both parties, Justice Mohamad Zabidin set 9.30am Tuesday to hear the application that he ought to recuse himself from further hearing the sodomy trial.

Justice Mohamad Zabidin said he would allow for some time in order for DPP Mohd Yusof to file an affidavit-in-reply to the disqualification application.

Anwar’s lawyer Sankara Nair said he had filed the application at the High Court criminal court registry at 9am on Monday.

Speaking to reporters later, Karpal said Anwar was worried that he would not get a fair trial due to previous rulings of the trial judge.

“If the trial judge has cautioned the newspaper, at least it will different. He should have sent a signal that he will not tolerate any interference by the media. His decisions cannot be supported,” he said.

Karpal said the defence team was not running away from the sodomy trial.

“It is not a delaying tactic. We want to proceed with the sodomy trial. We (just) want this (matter) to be clear,” he said.

In elaborating, Karpal said the trial judge’s ruling over the disqualification application would not be appealable as it were made in the course of the trial.

“It is not a final order as it does not finally dispose the rights of the (concerned) party (Anwar). It is not a conviction or an acquittal order (meted out by the High Court),” he said.

In an affidavit filed to support his application Monday, Anwar said Karpal had applied to court on Feb 4 to cite Utusan Malaysia for contempt of court over two articles published by the newspaper over Feb 3’s open court proceedings with allegedly misleading headlines.

Anwar claimed that the two headlines were “TAK RELA DILIWAT LAGI” (Not willing to be sodomised again) appeared on the front page of the Feb 4 Utusan report while “BERHENTI KERANA TIDAK MAHU DILIWAT LAGI” (Resigned because did not want to be sodomised again) was published on the third page of the newspaper.

Anwar claimed that the trial judge had dismissed his counsel’s application summarily on the ground that the said reports were not carried with the intention of being mischievous and to disrupt the trial proceedings.

In his papers, Anwar said the Malay daily had once again on Feb 5 carried on its front page a photograph with a caption saying that complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan showing a bed to the trial judge where he was allegedly sodomised by him at the master bedroom in a condominium unit during his (judge) visit at Desa Damansara Condominium in Bukit Damansara.

Anwar claimed that his counsel had urged the trial judge to caution Utusan for having carried the photograph, saying that it was misleading and it was in relation to closed proceedings.

Anwar said the trial judge had declined to caution Utusan and that to his disbelief had ruled that the publication of the picture as evidence regarding the bed had been given in open court the previous day.

“This pronouncement by the learned judge is not borne out by what actually transpired in open court, not in the notes of proceedings, both written and audio,” he said.

In his affidavit, Anwar also said the rulings by the trial judge brought to surface an element of real danger of bias.

“I respectfully state as a result of the rulings made by the trial judge, there has been a departure from the standard of even-handed justice which the law requires.

“With respect, the learned trial judge has not adjudicated upon the applications made by my counsel with an independent mind,” he said.

He said he was entitled for a fair trial pursuant to provisions of Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution.

Monday’s proceedings were expected to kick off with the much awaited cross-examination of Mohd Saiful, Anwar’s accuser and the only witness to have taken the stand so far.

Last week, Mohd Saiful testified that the PKR adviser had tried to come on to him.

He also claimed that he had idolised Anwar as a child and was interested in working for him because he was a charismatic leader.

Mohd Saiful said his friend Rahimi Osman had called him in early March to come to his office – Anwar’s office – in Section 16, Petaling Jaya, for a chit-chat.

“At that time, he asked me if I was employed or had any work. When I told him that I was not doing anything, he asked me if I wanted to be Anwar’s assistant as he claimed they were facing a shortage of staff,” he said.

On his move to resign from his job, Mohd Saiful said he had sent an e-mail to Anwar on June 27.

“After a few hours, Anwar called and scolded me. He asked me to meet him at his office in Section 16. I was scared but I went to see him as asked,” he said.

Mohd Saiful said he told Anwar his reasons – he was not disciplined and had always come to work late, and he was less qualified than other staff.

However, he said the real reason he resigned was that, “I was not willing to be treated in such a manner any more.”

“He asked me to be more disciplined and made a counter-offer that he wished to sponsor my studies and that I could still enjoy my full salary and allowances,” he said.

He said he was afraid to reject the offer in front of him and agreed to it. He said Anwar sent him an e-mail several hours later stating: “Thank you for being willing to continue your service.”

Mohd Saiful also claimed that he did not pass motion for two days after he was allegedly sodomised.

The prosecution had earlier said that it intends to prove that semen samples taken from the witness’ anus belonged to Anwar.

Anwar, 63, has claimed trial to sodomising his former personal aide at the Desa Damansara Condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.

He is charged under Section 377B of the Penal Code and could be sentenced up to 20 years and whipping upon conviction.

Earlier updates:

9.58am: Case called. Lead counsel for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Karpal Singh, applies to recuse High Court judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.

9.50am: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim signs an autograph on a book for Lawasia queen counsel Mark Trowell.

9.43am: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s eldest daughter and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar arrives.

9.31am: PKR vice-president Azmin Ali arrives.

Already in court are PKR strategic director Tian Chua, and Anwar’s lawyers Sankara Nair and Datuk Param Cumaraswamy. Lead counsel Karpal Singh is not here yet.

9.20am: Former MCA vice-president Datuk Chua Jui Meng, now a PKR member, arrives.

9.14am: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim arrives at the court complex with his wife PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and two daughters. The trial is expected to begin at 9.30am.

Also in court are PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali and secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

8.44am: Media and members of the public allowed to enter the court in stages. Each person is screened with metal detectors and their bags thoroughly checked.

8.21am: Three small police trucks and one van filled with personnel are parked near the court complex, believed to be in preparation for any protests that might take place today. A protest march did not take place last Friday as planned.

6.30am: Reporters and members of the public gather to attend the trial, finally issued their passes at about 7.30am, after which they queue up to get into Criminal Court 3 of the KL High Court complex.

Recommended reading:
* Saiful Bukhari Azlan vs Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial - Day 3
* Saiful Bukhari Azlan vs Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial - Day 2
* Saiful Bukhari Azlan vs Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial - Day 1

~ If you like this informative post, please subscribe to my full RSS Feed


Related Posts with Thumbnails