By CECIL FUNG and LESTER KONG
KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution wants to transfer Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case from the Sessions Court where he was charged last month to the High Court.
But the defence objected to the move saying it was unnecessary and that the transfer certificate had been signed by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who was to have no involvement in the case.
Lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah complained about the shabby treatment by the prosecution, who only informed the defence about the transfer application at the eleventh hour.
“We asked them what was the plan and up to Tuesday, we were told that there was no decision.
“On Tuesday afternoon, senior DPP (and AG’s Chambers head of prosecution) Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden was kind enough to call me to say that they most probably would ask for a transfer.
“Only 10 minutes ago when DPP Mohd Yusof appeared in court were we informed that they were indeed going to ask for a transfer,” the veteran lawyer said.
Describing the move as an “ambush”, Sulaiman said it left the defence to argue “practically out of the air.”
“In any case, we are objecting to the transfer,” he said.
DPP Mohd Yusof pointed out that the prosecution had already indicated the possibility of the transfer when the Opposition Leader was charged on Aug 7 and that the matter was only decided upon late Tuesday evening.
Sulaiman rebutted saying: “Just like a young lady saying ‘I may marry you”, similarly they said ‘we may transfer’.”
“We need to prepare,” he said.
Sulaiman said the defence had been informed through a statement by the Prime Minister that Abdul Gani would play no part in the case following a police report Anwar lodged against him and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan alleging that they fabricated evidence in the investigation into the 1998 incident where he (Anwar) was punched in a lock-up by then IGP Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor.
The veteran lawyer said the AG would have to apply his mind to the circumstances of the case before he could sign the transfer certificate.
“He’s the one who decides if it involved public interest and to transfer this case to the High Court and delay other cases where the accused persons face capital punishment,” he said.
Komathy then interjected and asked Sulaiman if the defence required more time to debate the matter, to which the lawyer replied that he would appreciate it as it was an important issue.
The judge then turned to DPP Mohd Yusof to ask if he had any objections to a two-week adjournment.
“I’ve read law reports in which judges from the High Court and the Court of Appeal paid tribute to you saying you’re a fair DPP. I’m sure you have no objections to this,” she said, drawing some laughter. Sulaiman agreed.
However, DPP Mohd Yusof argued that two weeks was too long but the judge was firm in her decision, saying all parties needed to be given sufficient time to prepare.
After Komathy fixed Sept 24 to hear the arguments, Sulaiman said the defence had no qualms about the case being heard before her.
The lawyer pointed out that the courts were of the same size, and that Komathy, who said she had been in service for 26 years, was an experienced and competent judge.
Police presence in the court complex was at a maximum Wednesday, with several truckloads of Federal Reserve Unit personnel being put on standby apart from armed policemen.
Compared to Aug 7, the police were more prepared to handle the anticipated crowd this time, vetting everyone who went up to level 4 where the Sessions Court was located.
However, there were unconfirmed reports of lawyers having difficulty getting to the other courts on the same level as a result of the tight security measures.
Anwar, who turned up in court at 9.30am with his family, PKR leaders and supporters, appeared relaxed, smiling the entire time.
After the proceedings, the PKR de facto leader described the prosecution’s move as a “trial by ambush” as his defence team was only told about the transfer 10 minutes before the start of Wednesday’s hearing.
He said it showed that the prosecution was waiting for instructions from their political masters.
Anwar also said Abdul Gani had signed the transfer certificate to “select a judge at their pleasure” because he did not trust the Sessions Court.*
In this episode, Anwar Ibrahim was 80 percent correct. He had hit all the points home and has a good idea of the trial being a sham further if it is transferred to the high court.
As mentioned, UMNO has two more tries to go in order to put Anwar Ibrahim out for good. The first one is the DNA Bill, which has hit numerous criticisms from all camps, including a BN MP. Syed Hamid Albar was determined to have it accelerated without thinking of fail-safe scenarios in order to force Anwar Ibrahim to hand over his sample for the BN fools to plant the evidence at Saiful's underwear. Secondly, part of the plan, engineered by the Police and Shafee Abdullah has all of UMNO's assets in the judiciary section play a part in making sure Anwar doesn't go scott free in Sodomy II.
UMNO is desperate, with another 5-9 days left before the so-called change of hands in the government. UMNO is banking that people are stupid and their agents, including Gani Patail would transfer the case to high court - the herring is matter of importance - but as Anwar said, Gani doesn't trust the Session courts.
If the case is transferred into court, Gani gets to select the judge at his pleasure, and the judge who could be presiding over the case is the missing piece of the fact that is not seen in the papers. Most probably it is not revealed to even journalists at all. Who would that be the person? Well, from numerous humming birds around and many sayings, the judge presiding in High Court could be Apandi Ali, an UMNO man.
Apandi Ali is a legal advisor for UMNO and a former Judicial Commissioner. He was involved in several occasions with Anwar Ibrahim. The recent piece of news that puts Anwar and Apandi together was back in end of November 2007:
KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim may have gone to the wrong High Court to try to stop the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) from compelling him to hand over the controversial video clip which implicated lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam.
Criminal division High Court judge Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali said he was of the opinion that the proper court was the Appellate and Special Powers High Court in the civil division.
“This court is strictly on criminal matters and this application has no relation to that, and it is not that I am avoiding to hear the application, but we must ensure that the application must follow proper procedures according to the law.
“Your client is not facing any criminal charges, and therefore instead of wasting time, it is better to go to the appropriate court,'' Justice Mohamed Apandi said.
Anwar's counsel M. Puravalen, however, informed the court that his client would like to pursue the application before the very court.
Apandi was also involved in the judgement and sentencing of Anwar in August 2000. Excerpt:
The Bar Council has received many queries from lawyers and members of the public regarding the comments attributed to Tuan Haji Mohamed Apandi Ali as reported in the local media on or around 14 August 2000 in relation to the judgement and sentence imposed on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on 8 August 2000. The Bar Council wishes to clarify that the opinion reported is the personal view of Tuan Haji Mohamed Apandi Ali and is certainly not the view of the Malaysian Bar.
Many were thought of the possibility of who presiding the trial if transferred. There is a high chance it could be Apandi. Anyhow, Komathy has at least one more shot to call for and we shall see what happens on the 24th. And somehow, if the takeover plan is successful and happens in reality, then it could be either the case being dropped or the tables turned against the conspirators.