Anwar's political opponents have been riding on the paragraph in the 2004 judgment to discredit him, says his lawyer. - The Malaysian Insider pic, December 2, 2013.The Federal Court today heard that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's reputation was grossly tarnished when it acquitted him for sodomy in 2004 but at the same time inferred that he had homosexual tendencies.
Anwar's counsel Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah told a five-man Federal Court bench that a paragraph in the judgment had been continuously used by his client's political opponents to run down the former deputy prime minister.
"This has caused serious injustice and damage towards the applicant," said Sulaiman, in applying to remove the contentious paragraph in the 2004 judgment by the Federal Court.
He said every time the opposition leader filed a defamation suit to clear his name, opponents would rely on the judgment as their defence.
Sulaiman said the remarks in the majority judgment were a personal opinion of the judge who wrote the grounds to allow Anwar's appeal against conviction.
"It did not form the main principle of the case as Anwar was charged with sodomy and finally acquitted. Hence, homosexuality is not relevant to the charge," he added.
He pointed out that the public perceived the judgment as biased against Anwar.
"It essentially declared that Anwar was a serial offender and had committed the offence as charged but had to be acquitted due to lack of evidence," he said.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Manoj Kurup, meanwhile urged the bench to dismiss the application as it was filed nine years after the acquittal.
He said the court was entitled to make comments on Anwar's conduct as there was evidence in the appeal record to justify the remarks.
"The majority judgment finds that the incident took place but Anwar was acquitted because the date was not proven," he said, referring to details on the charge sheet.
Manoj said allowing Anwar's application to expunge the paragraph amounted to editing the judgment.
"Should this application be allowed, it is feared a floodgate will be opened. People might be moved to make similar applications to edit judgments to suit their purposes.
"That, surely would be tantamount to dictating to the court how to write judgment and interfere in judicial independence," Manoj added.
Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, who led today's panel, deferred ruling to another date as it wanted to provide a written judgment.
Anwar, who is PKR de facto leader, filed the review application just before the May 5 general election.
Following his sacking and arrest in 1998, Anwar was tried for corruption and sodomy, and was sentenced to six and nine years for both charges respectively. A 2-1 Federal Court decision in September 2004 however reversed his conviction for sexual misconduct, and he was released.
Judges Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamad, who later became the chief justice, and Tengku Baharudin Shah Tengku Mahmud, ruled in Anwar's favour, while Datin Paduka Rahman Hussein dissented.
However, Abdul Hamid who wrote the majority judgment said the judges found that Anwar and co-accused Sukma Darmawan "were involved in homosexual activities" and that the judges were inclined to believe that the alleged sodomy did take place.
Anwar and Sukma, his adopted brother, were jointly charged of sodomising Azizan Abu Bakar, who was the driver of Anwar's wife, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had accused Anwar of having "homosexual tendencies".
"I cannot have a sodomite in my Cabinet. Imagine a gay PM... nobody will be safe," Dr Mahathir said in 1998, days after he dramatically sacked Anwar.
Anwar had then filed a RM100 million defamation suit against his former boss, but was struck out in 2007 on grounds that there was a judicial finding by the Federal Court that he had indeed taken part in homosexual acts.
Anwar was again charged for sodomy, this time involving his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan, but was acquitted of the charge last year.
Putrajaya's appeal against the acquittal will be heard on December 11. – December 2, 2013.