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Federal Court Casts Shadow On Anwar Trial
By Kim Quek

1/7/2001 9:32 am Sun

[Keputusan teperinci oleh 3 hakim yang mengadili Zainur membawa satu implikasi yang amat penting. Ia menunjukkan Ghani dan Mohtar telah bersekongkol untuk mengenakan Anwar dan Hakim Augustine Paul sengaja dan tiba-tiba menghukum Zainur menghina mahkamah agar semua keterangan Manjeet tidak terkeluar.

Sampai sekarang keterangan Manjeet tidak pun dicabar. Malah 3 hakim tersebut telah mengguna-pakainya dalam semua penghakiman mereka. Ini menunjukkan ia memang benar - Gani telah mengugut Nalla untuk membuat pengakuan palsu terhadap Anwar. Ini adalah satu kesalahan pihak pendakwa yang amat besar. (Gani boleh dihukum 20 tahun penjara!) Ia juga menunjukkan Hakim Augustine Paul telah membuat satu keputusan yang tergesa-gesa yang tidak relevan yang menindas Zainur serta Anwar. Ini semua bermakna Anwar mungkin perlu diadili semula..... kerana terdapat elemen ketidakadilan kepada Anwar dan kerana cara Hakim Augustine Paul mengadili kes itu telah dikutuk hebat oleh 3 hakim besar.

Tuhan Maha Kaya - kebenaran itu nampaknya akan terpancar jua dan tempoh itu seperti sudah tidak lama. Dimanakah nanti Mahathir, Mohtar, Ghani, dan Augustine Paul mahu menyorokkan muka? - Editor]



In quashing the 'contempt' conviction on lawyer Zainur Zakaria, the Federal Court (the highest court) has more than severely condemned the highly questionable conduct of trial judge Augustine Paul (the reprimand includes the devastating description of Paul as behaving like counsel for the prosecutors). The wordings of the 3 separate Judgments written by the 3 judges in the panel carry overtones that cast serious adverse implications on the trial of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

The epi-centre of this drama is a letter dated 12th October 1998 written by lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon to the then Attorney General Mohtar Abdullah, detailing the meeting Manjeet and co-counsel Balwant Singh Sidhu had with leading Prosecutor Gani Patail, during which Gani used the death penalty to blackmail Manjeet's client Nalla to fabricate evidence against Anwar.

Manjeet hand delivered this letter personally to the AG on 12th October 1998, pursuant to which he had a meeting with the AG on the next day at the latter's invitation. Throughout this meeting, the AG never questioned or disputed Manjeet's allegations against Gani.

The important point to note about this letter is that it has been extensively referred to and discussed in the Judgments of the Federal Court panel, and throughout their discourse, the accuracy of facts as stated in this letter has never been questioned. In fact the presumption of accuracy of the facts of this letter is apparent throughout these Judgments, exemplified by Justice Shim's series of questions/comments on the conduct of Gani as described in the said letter, such as:

- When Gani requested Nalla to allege Anwar had sexual involvement with 5 women (3 married and 2 unmarried), why did Gani specifically asked for 5 women?

- Was it legally proper for Gani to request for assistance from Nalla in the manner he did?

- There was no explanation as to why Gani had thought it fit to seek the cooperation of Nalla.

Neither has the accuracy of facts as stated in the said letter been questioned by the Court of Appeal or by Justice Paul in the High Court (Paul only argued with Zainur on the inferences from Para 4 of the said letter).

The acceptance of the facts as stated in the said letter by all the courts mentioned above implicates criminal improprieties on the Prosecutors as well as on the AG, the latter's involvement being obvious when he failed to act upon receiving such serious written allegations against his staff. To indicate how serious the allegations are, I quote from part of para 4 of the letter as follows (block letters are my highlights):

'It is BLACKMAIL AND EXTORTION of the highest culpability and my greatest disappointment is that a once independent agency that I worked with some 25 years ago and of which I have such satisfying memories has descended to such levels in the CREATION and collection of evidence. To use the death threat as a means to the EXTORTION OF EVIDENCE THAT IS OTHERWISE NOT THERE (why else make such a demand?), it is unforgivable and surely must in itself be a crime, leave alone a sin, of the greatest magnitude.'

If Manjeet's allegations were unfounded or untrue, wouldn't the AG have jumped from his seat and gave Manjeet a lashing of the tongue at the very least, or more properly, charged Manjeet for defamation? On the other hand, if Manjeet's allegations were true, wouldn't it be natural for the AG to quietly sidestep the allegations, talked shops, and acted non-committal on Manjeet's request to change the charge on Nalla from the Internal Security Act 1960 (death penalty) to one under Arms Act 1960 (no death penalty), like what the AG did?

The apparent criminal conduct of the Prosecutors, taken together with the highly questionable conduct of trial Judge Paul would then logically solve a series of puzzles that arose from the Judgments of the panel Judges, such as:

- Manjeet's allegations against Gani were so serious that these could land the latter in deep trouble if not rebutted. Why didn't Gani file an affidavit to defend himself?

- The panel Judges were of the view that the facts of the case demanded that witnesses be called to elaborate on the submitted documents and to answer a series of queries. Paul not only did not call for witnesses but also prevented Zainur from calling his witness. Why this strange and abnormal behaviour?

- Why was Paul so unreasonable as to disallow even a short adjournment to Zainur to prepare his defence?

- What prompted Paul to be so hasty as to have decided Zainur had committed contempt even before framing the charges?

- Why did Paul convict only Zainur and not other counsel as well, when there was evidence that the Affidavit attached to the Application to disqualify the Prosecutors was prepared by other leading counsel (Raja Aziz and Hj. Sulaiman) ?

The only plausible answers to the above extra-ordinary behaviour of the Prosecutors and the trial Judge are that the Prosecutors were indeed guilty of using the death penalty to blackmail Nalla to fabricate evidence against Anwar, and that Judge Paul acting in collusion with the AG and the Prosecutors, hastily shut Anwar's counsels up by summarily convicting Zainur, to avoid an implosion of evidence which might eventually derail the whole trial on Anwar. In the course of doing so, Paul's behaviour appeared so weird (brushing aside facts and normal procedure to jump convict Zainur) that it elicited the most unusual comment from Justice Abdul Malek Ahmad that Paul acted more like the counsel for the Prosecution, which is most damning on Paul to say the least, and by extension, on the entire trial of Anwar Ibrahim.

What does it mean when the Prosecution is found to have carried out the extreme measure of wrongfully charging some one under an Act that carries the death penalty in order to extort false evidence from the latter to incriminate the Accused? And further, what does it mean when the trial Judge is found to have acted in collusion with the Prosecution to unlawfully and hastily convict the Accused's counsel with contempt of court, so that the criminal conduct of the Prosecution to fabricate evidence will not surface to abort the trial?

There is only one answer, and that is there has been a miscarriage of justice, if the Accused is convicted under these circumstances.

Anwar has been subjected to the cruelest and most manifestly unfair trial in our living memory under the criminal hands of the trial Judge and the Prosecution. His trial and conviction is the most glaring example of miscarriage of justice, for which Malaysia's judiciary and leadership have been deservedly condemned universally.

In the light of the latest revelations from our highest court, it is now incumbent upon our Chief Justice, Attorney General and the de facto Law Minister to immediately seek ways to have this injustice rectified in the shortest possible time. Meanwhile, those responsible for causing this injustice must be pursued and brought to justice.

Kim Quek