The Malaysian Insider
April 13, 2014
Putrajaya looks to have turned the screws further on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after prosecutors filed a cross-appeal to enhance the five-year jail term against the opposition leader who was found guilty of sodomy last month.
His lawyer Karpal Singh said further Anwar’s appeal against the conviction and sentence appeared to be expedited for hearing in the Federal Court as the court registry had already sent him part of the appeal records.
“After going through the records, I found that the prosecution has appealed to enhance Anwar’s jail term,” Karpal told The Malaysian Insider.
This comes almost two weeks after Putrajaya had also cross-appealed against a lighter sentence imposed on Karpal who was found guilty of sedition.
On March 11, Karpal was fined RM4,000 but the prosecution filed a cross-appeal, urging the Court of Appeal to impose a stiffer penalty.
In Anwar’s case, a three-man Court of Appeal bench sentenced the PKR de facto leader to five year’s jail after allowing Putrajaya’s appeal to set aside the High Court decision which had acquitted him.
Anwar, who is the Permatang Pauh MP, risks losing his parliamentary seat and could see his political career coming to a premature end should the apex court uphold the Court of Appeal ruling.
Under the Federal Constitution, an elected representative is disqualified from office if fined more than RM2,000 or jailed for a term exceeding one year.
The sodomy punishment under Section 377B of the Penal Code carries a jail term of up to 20 years and the offender shall also liable to whipping.
“In filing the cross-appeal, I believe the prosecution wants the Federal Court to impose a jail term beyond five years. Whipping Anwar is out of question because he is 66 years old,” Karpal said.
Anwar was found guilty of sodomising his aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, at an upscale condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.
Trial judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah ruled on January 9, 2012, that he doubted the integrity of samples taken for DNA testing from Saiful as the samples could have been compromised before they reached the chemistry department for analysis.
However, the three-man Court of Appeal bench, led by justice Balia Yusof Wahi, in their oral decision said Zabidin had erred in his findings as the samples were not compromised.
The appellate court ruling, four days before the nomination day for the Kajang by-election, scuttled Anwar’s hopes of becoming the Selangor menteri besar. Anwar was PKR’s candidate for the by-election.
Karpal said in usual circumstances, the Court of Appeal would supply an appellant the entire appeal records which included the grounds of judgment.
He said the appellant would then file the petition of appeal which included grounds for appeal, within 10 days after the records were supplied.
Under the chief justice’s practice direction, the Court of Appeal has to prepare its grounds of judgment within eight weeks after an appellant filed his notice of appeal.
Anwar, who is on RM10,000 bail, filed his notice of appeal on March 10.
“In Anwar’s case, all other records were supplied to use but minus the grounds of judgment. The court was super efficient in this case. I hope they will be equally efficient in all other civil and criminal cases,” said Karpal who is also Bukit Gelugor MP.
Karpal himself risk facing a custodial sentence and losing his parliamentary seat after Putrajaya cross-appealed against a lighter sentence imposed on him by the High Court which found him guilty of sedition.
The 73-year-old wheelchair-bound lawyer said the Court of Appeal could impose the maximum RM5,000 fine or sentence him to jail which could be up to three years. – April 13, 2014.