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Sodomy Trial Judge to Prosecution: Do I look nervous? I am - (ref. malaysiakini)

Report from

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim cleared the first hurdle in his sodomy trial today when the court rejected a technical objection raised by the prosecution in the high-profile case.

The technical issue was in relation to the prosecution's bid to transfer the case to a higher court, which opposition supporters fear could be politically motivated.

This morning, Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge SM Komathy Suppiah ruled that she has the jurisdiction to hear the defence team's argument against the transfer of the case.

She said this when dismissing a preliminary objection raised by the prosecution, which had earlier argued that the judge "had no choice" but to transfer the case to a higher court.

Lead prosecutor Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden later attempted to apply for a stay of the ruling, which was turned down by the judge as well.

Before delivering her ruling today, justice Komathy had turned towards Mohd Yusof and dropped a remark puzzling those in court.

"Do I look nervous? I am," she said, without elaborating.

Prosecution seeks revision

By the afternoon, the prosecution had filed a letter seeking for revision to the High Court on the ruling made by justice Komathy. A copy of the letter was given to the defence team.

Anwar, accompanied by his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and daughters as well as scores of PKR leaders were present in court today to follow the proceedings.

On Sept 24, Komathy had reserved her judgment after hearing submissions from both the prosecution and the defence team.

Then the prosecution argued that the court "had no choice" but to allow the transfer as it had no power to reject the move. This position was challenged by Anwar’s legal team.

The opposition leader's lawyers objected the transfer certificate as it was signed by Attorney-General (AG) Abdul Gani Patail.

Their objection was on the basis that the AG should not have played any role in this case as he was being investigated following a complaint that he had allegedly tampered with evidence in Anwar’s trials 10 years ago.

The defence lawyers based their objection on a statement made by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who assured that the AG would not be involved in the latest sodomy case.

With the ruling this morning, the proceedings continued later with Anwar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah submitting on why the defence team was against the transfer of the case.

Among others, he reiterated that the AG should not be involved in the case by signing the certificate seeking the case transfer as it could constitute to conflict of interest and likelihood of bias.

"Based on past records and events, it is abundantly clear that the accused (Anwar) and the AG have a bad relationship and unresolved matter which required further investigation.

"There exists a reasoned perception that the AG has an 'axe to grind' against the accused," said the senior lawyer, who also told the court about Abdul Gani’s alleged act of tampering with the evidence in the previous Anwar cases.

Sulaiman also stressed that the AG was 'incompetent' in signing the certificate.

"The AG is incompetent to sign the transfer certificate and as such, the signature of the AG must be ignored as being procured in excess of the AG's jurisdiction or power on the peculiar circumstances of the case," he argued.

He further pointed out that the AG's signing of the certificate had breached Anwar’s legitimate expectation that Abdul Gani would play no part in the case as guaranteed by the premier.

Towards the end of his submissions, Sulaiman told the court: "There is a real and reasonable fear that the decision to transfer the case had been motivated by personal vengeance or even worse, political pressure."

Sulaiman's submissions would continue tomorrow morning. This would be followed by the prosecution's reply to his submissions.

It is uncertain if a decision would be delivered on the matter tomorrow.

Anwar had claimed trial on Aug 7 when charged with sodomising his former aide, 23-year-old Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

If convicted, he could face a 20-year jail term. He is currently out on a RM20,000 personal bond.

The police presence at the Jalan Duta court complex this morning was nominal, unlike previous times when truckloads of federal reserve unit members were positioned. The number of supporters had also dwindled. - Malaysiakini's report

Anyone want to explain that?