KUALA LUMPUR, 22 June 2009: Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial, which was supposed to start on 1 July, has been rescheduled to 8 July.
Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah changed the date following the request by lead defence counsel Sulaiman Abdullah, who sought to have two preliminary applications to be disposed of first.
On 10 March, Anwar pleaded not guilty to sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 24, at a condominium in Bukit Damansara here on 26 June 2008. On 18 June, a medical report by Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) has found no evidence of anal penetration of Saiful, raising doubts about the credibility of his charge against Anwar.
Nevertheless, the prosecution is expected to call 35 witnesess including Saiful, Hospital Kuala Lumpur doctors, and investigation officer DSP Jude Pereira.
Anwar filed an application on 10 June for the prosecution to provide him with several materials, including the original closed-circuit television camera recordings taken at several locations in the condominum building from 25 to 27 June last year; DNA samples; and statements from witnesses, including Saiful.
One week later, the 62-year-old opposition leader filed another application, this time to strike out the charge, claiming that the
prosecution was in bad faith and oppressive.
In today’s proceedings, during which Anwar was absent, Sulaiman told the court that the defence needed time to reply to the prosecution’s affidavit.
“The defence received the prosecution’s affidavit last week. I need another week to file the affidavit in reply,” he said.
In addition, he said, the Court of Appeal had yet to fix the hearing of the defence’s appeal against the High Court decision on 5 March in favour of the case being tried at the High Court.
Zabidin then asked Sulaiman why should the court vacate 1 July, which had been fixed for trial. Sulaiman replied that if the court insisted not to vacate 1 July, it would raise the danger of bias by the public as if the court had made the decision to dismiss Anwar’s applications.
Following this, Zabidin fixed 1 July to hear Anwar’s first application and 8 July on the second before the trial proper. — Bernama