18 June, 2010

Anwar failed in his bid for key evidence .

The High Court today rejected Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's bid to obtain medical notes and samples from three Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) doctors involved in his sodomy case.

Justice Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah ruled that there was no provision or legal basis for such documents to be supplied to the defence.

"Therefore, I hereby dismiss the application," he said after hearing arguments from both parties this morning.

Anwar, a former deputy premier who was sacked and jailed on separate sex and corruption counts a decade ago, has insisted the charges were trumped up in a conspiracy to end his political career.

His lawyer said the High Court's decision to deny Anwar's application for medical reports, clinical notes and "sexual assault kits" on his accuser would hamper the defence's cross-examination.

"It is akin to tying our hands behind our back and asking us to go into a boxing ring," counsel Sankara Nair said.

"We are most disappointed with the decision of the court. The result of today's decision is that it will lead to an unfair trial," he added.

The defence needed various documents and materials for the scrutiny of Australian forensic expert Assoc Prof David Lawrence Noel Wells, who has been engaged as an observer by Anwar's team, before cross-examining KLH general surgeon Dr Mohd Razali Ibrahim, the second witness.

Anwar had asked for all medical clinical notes and reports, materials, specimens, emails, hand-written notes, correspondence, jottings and observations by the three doctors who examined Mohd Saiful, on June 28, 2008, two days after the latter alleged that he was sodomised by Anwar.

Mohd Razali had examined Mohd Saiful together with emergency care specialist Dr Khairul Nizam Hassan and forensic pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Feng.

Anwar also wanted the complete history of the medical examination of Mohd Saiful conducted at the KLH, standard sexual assault proforma and sexual assault kits used by the hospital and the qualifications and experiences of the three doctors.

The court had set July 14 to continue the trial.

An Australian forensic expert hired by the defence, Dr David Wells, had earlier complained that he would not be able to do his job unless such documents were at hand.

The Victoria Institute of Forensic Medicine professor said his capacity to advise the defence team would be “severely compromised” by the absence of the documents.

The standard procedure in criminal cases is for the prosecution to provide all documentary evidence to the defence before the start of a trial.

However, the Federal Court had ruled that it was not necessary to do so in this case as the defence can make an application for the evidence to be handed over during the trial.

This restrictive ruling means that if Anwar's defence wants to obtain the necessary documents or any other evidence, it would have to submit an application, hence this notice of motion.

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