The Federal Court today dismissed Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s attempt to remove a reference of homosexuality from his Sodomy I acquittal a decade ago.
Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin said then Federal Court judge Abdul Hamid Mohamad was entitled to his opinion that the sexual act, for which Anwar was subsequently sacked as the deputy prime minister in 1998, had taken place.
“We are of the view that the majority judgment accepted that the sexual incident forming the crux of the charge did in fact occur but were doubtful as to when it in fact took place,” said Zulkefli when reading out the unanimous judgement of the five-man panel.
“Oh, ya Allah! Any case against Anwar surely we will loose. It is just like other written judgements against me,” exclaimed Anwar, upon hearing the dismissal.
Anwar was acquitted of his first sodomy charge after the Federal Court ruled in a two-to-one majority decision in the PKR de facto chief’s favour on September 2, 2004.
But Abdul Hamid, who chaired the panel then, included in the majority judgement that they were inclined to believe that Anwar and his adopted brother Sukma Darmawan Saasmitaat, who was jointly charged, had engaged in sodomy.
The contested paragraph, which is part of the judgement written by Abdul Hamid, states: “We find evidence to confirm that the appellants were involved in homosexual activities and we are more inclined to believe that the alleged incident at Tivoli Villa did happen at some time.
Anwar had sought for the offending reference to be expunged just before Election 2013, on grounds that it has been used by his political opponents to claim that he is tainted.
Zulkefli said that the apex court is satisfied with the evidence on record, which Abdul Hamid had based the problematic comment on in the written judgement.
“We agree that the comment is part and parcel of the analytical process undertaken by the learned judge in arriving at the decision which the majority judgement did.
“In our view, the conclusion arrived at by the majority judgement in the impugned paragraph was in fact based on evidence found in the appeal record.
“It, therefore, cannot be termed as a personal opinion of the judge who delivered the decision.
Zulkelfi explained that the majority judgement was convinced that the offence did take place but was only uncertain of the precise time it was committed.
The judge also said Abdul Hamid was entitled to list the comment as the latter was referring to an ingredient of the charge.
The former deputy prime minister was acquitted of his first sodomy charge after the Federal Court ruled two to one in Anwar’s favour on September 2, 2004.
In 1999, Anwar and Sukma were jointly charged in the High Court for allegedly sodomising Azizan Abu Bakar between January and March 1994. Azizan was at the time the driver for Anwar’s wife and PKR president, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Anwar was found guilty by the High Court and sentenced to nine years jail, a penalty that was to run consecutively after an earlier six-year jail term for corruption.
On March 7, the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court’s decision to acquit the opposition leader of sodomising his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan at the Desa Damansara condominium on June 26, 2008.
The appellate court sentenced Anwar to five years in prison, blocking his intention to contest in the Kajang by-election.
A stay was, however, granted to allow Anwar to appeal the matter at the apex court