PETALING JAYA: Anwar Ibrahim could file a fresh review to overturn his sodomy conviction in an attempt at an earlier return to active politics instead of going through a pardons process, according to his former lawyer.
“The law does not stop Anwar from filing another review in his attempt to be acquitted of the alleged criminal offence,” S N Nair said.
The lawyer, who was in Anwar’s legal team at the trial stage until 2012, said the PKR de facto leader could move the court to give him an early hearing by filing a certificate of urgency.
“If a newly constituted Federal Court bench finds the conviction is unsafe, Anwar will be freed of the charge,” he told FMT.
Nair was responding to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad telling a media conference yesterday that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had indicated he was willing to grant Anwar a full pardon.
Anwar has yet to file an application for clemency although he is expected to be freed from prison on June 8.
Anwar’s supporters maintain that the sexual misconduct charge against him was politically motivated.
Nair said Anwar would have no conviction record if he followed the legal route, and that he could return to mainstream politics within a short time.
“There should be no taint in Anwar’s record,” he said, adding that he could then contest in a by-election and later become prime minister.
Nair, who was actively involved in the trial, said he was convinced that the evidence of investigation officer Jude Pereira was seriously flawed.
On Dec 14, 2016, Anwar failed to clear himself of the sodomy conviction after the Federal Court dismissed his review application.
His lead counsel Gopal Sri Ram had raised the issue of bias as the Prime Minister’s Office had swiftly issued a statement five minutes after the court upheld the conviction.
Another ground was the conduct of ad-hoc prosecutor Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who went on a road show to run down Anwar and his lawyers soon after the final appeal ended.
In March 2014, the Court of Appeal overturned a 2012 High Court acquittal of Anwar over a charge of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008.
The apex court on Feb 10, 2015, upheld the conviction and sentence.
Anwar had filed civil suits against the government of the time, claiming that the court convicted him of sexual misconduct based on the perjured evidence of Saiful Bukhari, the crown prosecution witness.
He said fabricated evidence in the form of an alleged DNA sample was used to support Saiful’s evidence.
Anwar also filed another suit to quash his conviction, this time on grounds that the court did not come to a just decision as Shafee had allegedly received RM9.5 million from former prime minister Najib Razak.
Online portal Sarawak Report reported that Shafee had received the money in two tranches in 2013 and 2014.
Both cases are on appeal before the Court of Appeal.