Anwar Ibrahim Trials
By FMT Staff
KUALA LUMPUR: High Court judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah today dismissed Anwar Ibrahim’s application to disqualify the judge on grounds there was no real danger of bias.
Justice Mohd Zabidin said according to the court transcript over the exchange of words between Anwar’s lawyer Karpal Singh and him, he was of the view that a reasonable man, who read the words in a proper context, would not have the impression that there were a real danger of bias on his part to continue hearing the case.
Mohd Zabidin then set Jan 21 for mention after granting Karpal’s request to stay the trial proceedings pending its appeal over today’s ruling at the Court of Appeal.
Last week Mohd Zabidin said he will deliver his decision today following Anwar’s application to disqualify him on grounds of “intimidation”.
He had also said that he will proceed with the trial proper if he decides not to recuse himself.
Anwar, the 62-year-old PKR de facto leader and former deputy prime minister, is currently facing sodomy charges for the second time in his life.
He is charged with sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara here between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.
He is charged under section 377B of the Penal Code and can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years’ jail and whipping upon conviction.
Anwar’s lead counsel Karpal Singh had submitted that Mohd Zabidin should disqualify himself because of he had “intimated” the veteran lawyer.
However the prosecution submitted that Anwar was only applying to disqualify the judge to buy time and that it was a “delay tactic”.
In a written affidavit filed along with a notice of motion to disqualify Mohd Zabidin, Anwar said the judge had “threatened” Karpal when the lawyer gave notice of the defence’s intentions to file an application to disqualify him.
This is the second time that Anwar had applied to recuse the judge, the first was following the judge’s refusal to cite Utusan Malaysia for contempt over a news report the defence claimed was prejudicial to the case.
His first application was rejected by Mohd Zabidin as well as by the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.