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Aliran: Only Divine Intervention Can Assure Justice for Anwar

February 27, 2010

From Aliran

Anwar can forget about getting justice from the Malaysian judicial system. Rules can be bent, rules can be ignored, rules can be overlooked when it involves Anwar. This is what the man in the street is saying.

We witnessed this nauseating so-called judicial process in both the trials concerning Anwar’s sodomy and corruption trials in 1999. In the first sodomy trial the charges were amended three times because the authorities did not know the definite date to conclusively state when the so-called sodomy was believed to have taken place then.

In the corruption trial, the presiding judge made it so difficult for the defence to mount a serious challenge to the charge. The judge even decided that he should be convinced of the relevance of the point before the defence was allowed to question the prosecution witnesses. It was so outrageously unjust that it led Malaysians to believe that Anwar had to be convicted no matter what.

Are we witnessing a similar scenario in this instance where Anwar is on trial for the second time charged with, of all things, another sodomy?

The way things are moving, it seems, only divine intervention can save him from the injustice he is being subjected to.

Today’s ruling (25 February 2010) by the Federal Court refusing to review an earlier Federal Court decision has an unsettling effect on our system of justice.

Solicitor general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden had argued that the court is not empowered to review its decision. A review can only (be) granted if the applicant manages to prove that “there was an error in law” and only in extremely rare cases is a review granted (Malaysian Insider).

There may not be “an error in law” but what course of remedy is open to the litigant when there was an error in justice? When such error involving justice is so apparent, should the court turn a blind eye to the injustice?

We are made to understand that Rule 137 of the rules of the Federal Court stipulates that the court had limited power to decide on a review of its own decision “to prevent injustice or to prevent an abuse of the process of the court” (Malaysian Insider).

Is this the reason why the law is sometimes referred to as an ass? Does this mean that an injustice and an abuse of the process of court can be tolerated and condoned by the court? Is this what rule of law is all about?

Why is Anwar being denied the list of witnesses? Why is he denied additional information and evidence which is so crucial to his defence? Is it meant to crucify him by all means as many believe it to be?

Shouldn’t the court, in all fairness, order this vital information be given to him so that the three foreign experts who are here can advise Anwar’s team of lawyers as to how to counter the so-called evidence with the prosecution?

Strangely, the court has also ruled that in spite of the fact that there was no penetration according to medical evidence, it will not dismiss the case as there is other corroborating evidence to support the charge.

Normally, penetration is most crucial in the case of rape and sodomy. In such an eventuality, other corroborating evidence may lend credence to the charge but without any positive evidence of penetration what credibility would this charge hold in any fair trial?

In the words of Lord Devlin, the court process “is to provide a civilized method of settling disputes. It is …to remove a sense of injustice.”

Unfortunately, we have not witnessed this truth so far. The injustice has not been removed by any stretch of the imagination.

P Ramakrishnan
President
25 February 2010


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