(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Malaysians reading this morning’s newspapers during breakfast were shocked to read of the decision of Justice Datuk S. Augustine Paul yesterday that the trial of former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would proceed today even if Anwar was not in court since he had to be at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Anwar’s "black eye" while under police custody which continues hearing today.
In refusing to accede to the defence request for a postponement to enable Anwar to attend the inquiry, the judge said that Anwar’s presence at the trial could be dispensed with under section 264 of the Criminal Procedure Code and that Anwar was amply represented by his team of lawyers.
The judge said it was up to Anwar to choose the proceedings which he would attend and that he could not allow any further delay since the case had been "delayed enough".
Who was responsible for Anwar’s case being "delayed enough"? If there is anyone responsible, the responsibility must be borne fully and squarely by the prosecution who led the court on a wild goose’s chase after Anwar’s sexual misconduct for 45 days, fully armed with a paraphernalia of mattresses, semen stains, DNA, threat of a videotape evidence, which all fizzled out when at the last minute, the prosecution amended the charges leading to the expungement of more than half of the evidence of the 45-day trial.
Justice Datuk Augustine Paul may have the full judicial powers to decide that Anwar’s trial should proceed even if the former Deputy Prime Minister is away as a witness at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Anwar’s "black eye" while under police custody.
The judge, however, should always be conscious that Anwar’s
trial is not an ordinary trial and is the focus of national and international
attention, and that outside the court of law, there is a court of public
and international opinion and he should always remember what he himself
said at the beginnign of the Anwar trial: Justice must not only be done,
but must be seen to be done!