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Friday, February 27, 2015

Trial judge ordered Anwar case evidence sealed, lawyer says

Image©Malay Mail (Used by permission)
by PEARL LEE


PETALING JAYA, Feb 27 — A defence counsel in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy hearing confirmed the High Court judge had reminded the parties involved that evidence in-camera adduced by Saiful Bukhari Azlan “stay within” the courtroom. 

Gobind Singh Deo, who represented Anwar in the Federal Court appeal, said this following claims that prosecutor under fiat Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had revealed details of in-camera proceedings during a public forum last week.

“It was clearly expressed (in the proceeding notes) by the trial judge (Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah) that such matters must not be reproduced,” said Gobind.


“As such, the attorney-general should state if his office had committed contempt of court as the order was made in the presence of then former solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden and it was pronounced in open court.”

According to the notes of the court proceedings made available to Malay Mail, Mohamad Zabidin had said: “I would like to remind parties here that today’s proceeding is in camera, that means whatever evidence adduced stays within these four walls.” 

He said although Shafee only appeared on behalf of the prosecution at the appeal level, he would have known about the matter through the records.

“Following the clarification from the Bar Council on proceedings held in camera, I now urge the presiding High Court judge in the Sodomy II trial to rule whether Shafee acted in contempt of court when he revealed the evidence.”

Malay Mail in its front page report yesterday reported Lim as urging the Bar Council to clarify its stand on Shafee’s conduct in disclosing court proceedings which were not for public consumption.
The DAP lawyer said such actions had serious implications as it affected the criminal justice system and a clarification would act as a future guide for members of the Bar.

He also said the Bar Council should refer Shafee to the disciplinary board if his actions were deemed a breach of the Legal Profession Practice and Etiquette Rules.

Shafee, had during a forum organised by Umno Youth in Kelana Jaya, said Anwar was a “closet homosexual” who cried political conspiracy only when his sexuality was exposed. It was also reported he had revealed lurid details, adduced in court, to the public. 

He had also said Anwar’s refusal to admit to his purported homosexuality made him a “dangerous man” and a threat to national security.

Shafee, who was the lead prosecutor in the appeal, had embarked on a roadshow to explain Anwar’s conviction to rebut claims of political persecution.

Anwar was sentenced to five years’ jail on Feb 10 after the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s conviction on the sodomy charge.

Efforts to contact Shafee and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail proved futile.

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