Court says no need to prove sex act in Anwar’s trial
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 14 Kyodo After feeding the public with lurid details of a semen-stained mattress and alleged bisexual affairs, the court ruled Thursday that evidence on the sexual allegations against former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is not relevant in his corruption trial. The ruling came following Wednesday’s move by the prosecution to amend the corruption charges to reduce the prosecution’s burden of having to prove allegations of sexual misconduct by Anwar. Judge S. Augustine Paul had allowed the amendments, but questions arose as to whether evidence on the alleged sexual acts was relevant to the amended charges. Leading prosecution counsel Abdul Gani Patail reiterated the corruption charges have nothing to do with the alleged sexual misconduct. ”We do not have to prove whether the (sexual) allegations are false or true. The moment the accused used his position to gain an advantage, the offense is committed. The matter on the DNA report and so on, are only collateral issues and not directly relevant to the proof of the offense,” he said. He added evidence concerning the alleged sexual acts such as testimony from a government chemist regarding his DNA findings on the stained mattress was submitted because they wanted to show motive. Abdul Gani said the evidence would also support the testimony given by key witnesses, especially Ummi Hafilda Ali and Azizan Abu Bakar whose credibility has been sorely challenged by the defense. Anwar is being tried on four counts of corruption in which he is said to have abused his office as deputy premier by directing the police to coerce Ummi Hafilda and Azizan to retract allegations of sexual misconduct by the former deputy premier. Ummi Hafilda, a sister of Anwar’s private secretary Mohamad Azmin Ali, claimed Anwar had an illicit affair with Azmin’s wife Shamsidar Taharin while Azizan, a former driver of Anwar’s wife, has sworn Anwar had a homosexual affair with him. Leading defense counsel Raja Aziz Addruze argued that proof of sexual misconduct is relevant if the prosecution were to prove Anwar committed corrupt practices. ”Now, how does one protect oneself from criminal action if the allegations are untrue?” Another defense counsel, Gurbachan Singh, said if the court ruled the evidence is not relevant, ”Then the situation would be that the accused would be prevented from denying the allegations.” However, Paul ruled that since the amended charges only refer to ”allegations” of sexual misconduct, ”this does not bring into focus their truth or falsity, which therefore does not become a constituent elements of the charges.” ”To avoid any prejudice to the accused, I direct any such evidence that has been admitted be expunged from the records and be not considered by the parties.” Speaking from the dock during a break, Anwar said, ”They abuse me for two months and I can’t say anything. The whole idea is for the media to vilify me. They want to use the original charge for media vilification and they have achieved their aim to smear me.” The court has been adjourned until Jan. 26 for the defense to review their submissions in view of the new ruling. Both sides were supposed to submit their case Thursday, piecing together all the evidence and testimony presented throughout the 46 days of hearings before the judge decides whether to continue the trial or throw out the charges.
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