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Thursday, February 26, 2009

> AG involved in Anwar's case

The Sessions Court exceeded its powers by reviewing a certificate to transfer proceedings to a higher court, the prosecution in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial argued today.

In its submission in the High Court to reverse the lower court's decision not to transfer the trial to a higher court, the prosecution argued that the sessions court judge S.M. Komathy had exercised a "judicial review," which she is not allowed to.

By law, only the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court can hear judicial reviews.

Solicitor-General Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden argued that the Sessions Court was not the proper forum to decide on the validity of Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail's certificate requesting the trial be transferred to the High Court.

Instead, he said, the defence should have applied for a motion to a High Court to quash the certificate.

"The Sessions Court has no jurisdiction to hear judicial reviews. Only the superior courts may do so," said Mohd Yusof.

However, the defence maintained that the validity of the transfer was questioned within the proceedings of the criminal trial.

"It can be done within proceedings. It was not a judicial review," said Anwar's chief counsel Sulaiman Abdullah.

"A criminal defence can use all manners of defence and this includes challenging the validity of a transfer," he added.

In November, the validity of the transfer was first challenged by Sulaiman in the Sessions Court. He argued that there was a conflict of interest on the part of the Attorney-General.

He argued that as there was a police report filed against him by Anwar, who is the parliamentary Opposition leader, and in return, a civil suit by the A-G against the former deputy prime minister, that it went against the rules of natural justice.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had given his assurance that the A-G would not be involved in the prosecution.

Mohd Yusof today, however, claimed that the PM had only made that promise with regards to the conduct of prosecution and not in an administrative role with regards to the ongoing case.

The case was adjourned until March 5 when Justice Mohamad Zabidin will decide on the application - The Malaysian Insider.