Former solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden's decision to join the opposition leader's defence team is a boost for Anwar Ibrahim.
Yusof was the lead prosecutor in Anwar’s Sodomy II trial, which the opposition leader had claimed was a political conspiracy against him.
Now Yusof’s decision to join the defence team representing Anwar and two other PKR leaders on charges pertaining to the Bersih 3.0 rally would further strengthen the perception that the sodomy accusation was crafted with political motives.
His presence at the Sessions Court here this morning sent murmurs of excitement throughout the packed courtoom.
Speaking to reporters later, Yusof said Anwar had contacted him and the former had no qualms taking up the case.
“He (Anwar) called me last night and I had no hesitation. I’m just a counsel, everyone is entitled to one. I have no political affiliations. I’m a working professional… a free agent,” he said.
Asked if he was doing this to go against Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, with whom he was rumoured to have strained relations with, Yusof said he had nothing personal against the latter.
‘Soon even the AG would join me’
Earlier, Anwar said Yusof’s decision to be part of the defence team should not come as a surprise and quipped that soon even the AG might join him.
“What’s the issue? He understands the law… I thank Yusof for his readiness to be part of the defence team. I contacted him after receiving information that he was ‘ready’ to join us. This is a great development and means a lot.
“It shows that those within the government know about the dirtiness that happens and are not prepared to defend all of it. If he really thinks I’m guilty, he would not be with us.
“He was the second in command in the AG’s chambers, some say he should be the AG, now he chooses to be with us,” he added.
Anwar stressed that Yusof was not here just to make up numbers and had “came to make sure I get the justice I deserve.”
Meanwhile, the defence team’s lead counsel Karpal Singh said that Yusof’s switch was a blow to the government.
Anwar, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and supreme council member Badrul Hisham Saharin were charged with breaching the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and taking part in a “street protest”.
They also face a second charge for going against an order by a public servant. All three claimed trial to the charges.