Aussie ex-judge says Anwar’s trial ‘unusual’

COMMENT In his foreword to Mark Trowell’s latest book, ‘The Prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim – the Final Play’, Michael Kirby described the decision to substitute former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal with a conviction of the sodomy crime as an “unusual in legal process.”

“Judicial lightning could, it seems, strike twice,” the former Australian High Court judge wrote in the 24-page foreword.

Kirby is no stranger to the state of the judiciary in Malaysia. He has been following the developments in the Malaysian judiciary for at least the past two decades.

Back in 1989, when former Lord President of the Federal Courts of Malaysia Mohamed Salleh Abas published his book ‘May Day for Justice’, the 79-year-old former president of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) had also written the foreword.

Therefore, it is clear from the way he wrote and watching from Down Under, Kirby (left in photo) is deeply engaged emotionally with the current development in Malaysian judiciary.

In this latest foreword, he immediately pointed the reader to a number of other international observers who were present at the Federal Court when it sentenced Anwar to a five-year jail term in February this year, as if to say that he was not the only concerned about the miscarriage of the trial, though it was not clearly stated throughout his writing.

Among them, he said, was one distinguished former Australian judge and a commissioner of the ICJ, Elizabeth Evatt, who wrote that the court’s reversal of the acquittal as “an approach wherein the burden was on Anwar Ibrahim to prove that he had a credible defence, rather than raising reasonable doubt reasonable doubt as to the prosecution’s case.”

Kirby’s foreword, typical of a judge who is meticulous and analytical in his writing, carried a story of his personal encounters with president Nelson Mandela, which I thought were the right settings for Trowell’s second book on Anwar’s Sodomy II case.

He put it so succinctly, explaining “why the principle of open justice is so important”.

“It is why, in today’s world of global news, the commitment to open justice often demands the opportunity for outside scrutiny, lest local passions add to the dangers of miscarriage and to the risk of injustice,” Kirby argued.

Aussie ex-judge says Anwar’s trial ‘unusual’
20/9/15 – Malaysiakini
Stephen Ng


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