Why court's haste in fixing Sodomy II dates?

N Surendran

Modified 5 Mar 2014, 10:51 am

I refer to the appeal of the Sodomy II case by the BN government against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim on March 6 and 7, 2014.

We are disturbed by the unusual haste in which the March 6 and 7 dates have been fixed.

The appeal had been fixed for case management on Feb 28. Anwar's lawyers then received a call from the deputy registrar of the Court of Appeal asking for free dates between March 7 and March 10, 2014.

It should be noted that the dates insisted upon by the Court of Appeal are on the eve of the nomination day for the Kajang by-election. (If Anwar is convicted, he would be disqualified from contesting in the by-election.)

On Feb 28, the court insisted on fixing March 6 and 7 as the appeal dates. The dates were fixed despite Anwar's lawyers stating that those are not their free dates.

Why was the Court of Appeal in such a hurry to fix these dates?

More surprisingly, the Court of Appeal had on Feb 12 allowed a stay of the Sodomy II appeal, pending disposal of Anwar's appeal to Federal Court on the application for retired police investigating officer Supt Jude Blacious Pereira to be recalled.

Having granted the stay, why did the appellate court rush to fix the appeal dates even before the Pereira appeal was heard?

In fact, Anwar had up to March 6 to file his petition for leave to appeal for the Pereira appeal to the Federal Court.

However in a highly unusual move, lead prosecutor Muhammad Shafee Abdullah filed an application to strike out the Pereira appeal.

More surprisingly, the Federal Court allowed on March 4 the striking out of the Pereira appeal, which decision was clearly wrong in law and in fact.

It should be remembered that the Sodomy II appeal is a matter of great public interest. The court must be candid and transparent in managing the Sodomy II appeal.

The Malaysian public has a right to fullest disclosure pertaining to this appeal.

We hereby urge the chief registrar of the Court of Appeal to disclose the reasons for the hurried fixing of the Sodomy II appeal dates.

N SURENDRAN is a lawyer, PKR vice-president and Padang Serai Member of Parliament.

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