The Federal Court has ruled that there was no reason to recuse the five-man bench hearing former Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s application to set aside his sodomy conviction today.
This was after Anwar’s lawyers had made an application to recuse the panel as it was made up of the same judges who had rejected an application on May 24 to call former Commercial Crime Investigation Department Director Ramli Yusof to give additional evidence in Anwar’s matter.
Led by Chief Judge of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, the five-man panel comprises Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum, Hasan Lah, Abu Samah Nordin and Zaharah Ibrahim.
Judge Zulkefli said there was no merit in the defence’s application.
“We do not think that the two paragraphs (in the previous judgment) referred to by Gopal Sri Ram will result in the bench being biased against Anwar.
“If at all, the paragraphs were said in the context of adducing additional evidence by Ramli Yusof,” Zulkefli said in assuring Anwar that he would be given a fair hearing based on facts and evidence.
The application to set aside Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy conviction at the Federal Court continues.
Anwar, who is serving a five-year jail sentence after the same court upheld his sodomy conviction on February 10 last year, is seeking to set aside the judgment by Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria, which found him guilty of sodomising his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Anwar’s defence team is led by former Federal Court judge Gopal, and also includes Sangeet Kaur, N Surendran, Sivarasa Rasiah, Latheefa Koya, Melissa Sasidaran and Shahid Adli Kamaruddin.
Anwar’s lawyers are expected to invoke Rule 137 of the Rules of the Federal Court 1995 to review the decision of the five-member panel last year, and to be allowed to re-hear his appeal.
FMT Reporters Online