Anwar: Did the majority judgement really acquit him?

Finally, nearly a fortnight after the original judgement was realeased, somebody from the mainstream press has picked up as a major issue what most of us who actually read the judgement saw on the first day:
To summarise our judgment, even though reading the appeal record, we find evidence to confirm that the appellants were involved in homosexual activities and we are more inclined to believe that the alleged incident at Tivoli Villa did happen...
While the testimonies of Dr. Mohd. Fadzil and Tun Haniff and the conduct of the first appellant confirm the appellants’ involvement in homosexual activities...

In nearly thirty articles published by the Star on 2 and 3 September, there was only one mention of these lines, and that was in a throwaway paragraph that did not dig deeper (or even dig shallow) into the issue.

The issue is this: In a majority judgement that acquits Anwar, this single line makes it clear that the acquittal is on a technicality, and not because the court disbelieved that he was guilty of an 'act against nature'. "We know he's guilty, but we're going to release him because the prosecution was so incompetent at presenting a case," seems to be a message.

If this is true, then the homophobic-inducing stain that was painted on him isn't truly gone, and it's only a matter of time before somebody raises it as, "look, even those who let him free think he's guilty".

Incidentally, I was surprised when I initially read this line, because there is nothing in the 35 pages preceeding it that built up to it. I am not a lawyer, but I felt that it was a little out of place in a judgement that so meticulously built up a case for the acquittal.

Anyway, Karpal Singh has come out and asked for the comment to be expunged. As with all things Karpal, I expect this to snowball a little and look to more in the press.
posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - permalink
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