Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DAY 6 – 7 APRIL 2003 (Part 1) (UPDATED with BM Translation)

The Attorney-General’s main argument on the inconsistency of its star witness, Azizan Abu Bakar, the alleged victim of the sodomy act, is that just because Azizan was inconsistent does not mean he is unreliable or that his testimony lacks credibility.
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Prosecution sidesteps the issues; replies without replying
The Attorney-General, Abdul Gani Patail, took the floor on the sixth day of the Anwar Ibrahim and Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja appeal hearing to argue the case for the respondent (prosecution).
Today was the first day for the ‘other side’ to reply to the five days of various allegations made by the appellant (defence) against the conduct of the Trial Judge, AG, Prosecutors, police, and many more.
The spectators’ gallery was packed with curious members of the public and Reformasi supporters who had lined up more than two hours before ‘opening time’ to ensure they got in. The ‘quota’, as it was, was too small – only ten members of the media, twenty family members, and the rest, a handful, for members of the public.
What was foremost in everyone’s mind was how would the prosecution answer to the charges of Mala Fide, conspiracy, trumped-up charges, police torture, blackmail, extortion, fabricated evidence, contradicting testimony, and all that stuff Hollywood movies are made of.
The five days of submission by the defence over the last two weeks was definitely exciting. Certainly the prosecution would add more excitement to what already promises to be Malaysia’s appeal hearing of the century.
But, alas, all the great expectations were soon to be shattered. Most found it terribly difficult just to stay awake. If they had paid to get in, they certainly would have demanded their money back, for the performance they saw today, a kindergarten year-end concert would have been more stimulating.
As the Malay proverb goes, ‘Indah kabar dari rupa’, which roughly translates as ‘the news is juicier than the actual event’.
Yes, that’s what it was; a major letdown, an anticlimax, a no contest. The prosecution just cited past events and judicial decisions of other cases in India and England in a feeble attempt to shoot down all the defence allegations without actually replying to them or denying them.
Clearly, the prosecution was trying to win the judges over on technicalities and hoping that the judges will go along with them on the argument that it needs not reply to or deny the allegations but that the allegations need not be considered at all.
In short, the judges are being told to ignore all the allegations and rule that the entire defence argument is not relevant.
Yes, the very familiar “tak relevan” (not relevant) ruling of the previous trial judge that helped the prosecution out of their tight corner whenever the defence got them pinned down.
The prosecution knew it would not be able to argue itself out of this one. So it is telling the court that everything the defence has raised over the first five days should be ruled not relevant and should not be considered. This way, the defence’s entire case can be flushed down the toilet with one twist of the wrist.
And we will now go through what the prosecution argued.
Inconsistencies do not make the witness a liar
The Attorney-General’s main argument on the inconsistency of its star witness, Azizan Abu Bakar, the alleged victim of the sodomy act, is that just because Azizan was inconsistent does not mean he is unreliable or that his testimony lacks credibility.
“The main issue in this appeal is the question of Azizan’s credibility,” said the AG. “It is a single most important issue to both the prosecution and the defence in that the prosecution’s case almost entirely rests upon his testimony – thus, credibility.”
“It is contended by the appellants that Azizan is not credible for reasons we would advert to later.”
“The question is what happens when there are discrepancies or contradictions in a witness’ testimony. Would that make him less than credible and lead to an outright rejection of his entire testimony?”
“Discrepancies are bound to happen even by honest and disinterested witnesses and absolute truth is beyond human perception.”
The AG then added, “Forgetfulness and failure to recall exactly certain events, which do not seem to be important to the witness, do not necessarily shake his credibility or render other parts of his story unworthy of belief.”
“The fact that there are discrepancies in a witness’ testimony does not straight away make him an unreliable witness and make the whole of his testimony unacceptable.”
What the AG was saying here is that it agrees that Azizan was inconsistent. But this, in no way, makes him an unreliable witness. It is something normal and quite acceptable. In fact, it is only human to be inconsistent.
The AG then said that Azizan’s discrepancy in his testimony is not related to a material point. Therefore, his inconsistencies do not harm the case against Anwar and Sukma in any way.
“It is only when a witness’ evidence on material or obvious matters in the case is so irreconcilable, ambivalent, and negational that his whole evidence is to be disregarded.”
As to the ‘non-material’ or ‘minor’ inconsistencies that the prosecution is referring to are:
1. Azizan’s admission that he was NOT sodomised by Anwar Ibrahim, then his subsequent change of stance by saying he was.
2. That Azizan contradicted himself when he told the police he was sodomised in May 1994 after first saying it was May 1992, then later changing his story to between January and March 1993.
3. That Azizan said he could not remember whether he told the police he was sodomised in 1992, then later admitted he DID tell the police he was.
4. That the trial judge himself commented Azizan is an evasive witness who refuses to answer even simple questions.
The prosecution argued that the above contradictions are not that important to the case even though the judge himself commented that Azizan appears far from credible. In fact, the prosecution explained, “Azizan had clarified the so-called contradictions.”
“Should there be any inconsistency or contradiction, it is not material to the extent it goes to the root of the charge or detracts from the main thrust of the prosecution’s evidence.”
“The alleged incident occurred about six years ago. Therefore, consistencies are bound to happen. But that certainly does not mean Azizan was lying. Azizan was a truthful witness.”
The AG summed up by saying that the parts where Azizan was not consistent were not crucial to the case. Azizan may have contradicted himself as to the date and time, but the place still remains the same.
The AG, however, never addressed the fact that Anwar had a solid alibi for the ‘not that important’ time and date, and that he had proven he never was at the place in question. All the AG was concerned about was that Azizan had said it happened in the Tivoli Villa, and he had never wavered in naming this place, so it must be true even if he could not pin down the date and time and the prosecution could not tear Anwar’s alibi to pieces.
And the reason Azizan was not consistent was because he was confused due to the so many questions he had to answer and the fact that he was someone of a low education level. Therefore, understandably, he was not someone who should be expected to be consistent.

Translated into BM by Jason:
HARI 6 - 7 April 2003 (Bahagian 1)

Hujah utama Peguam Negara berkenaan keterangan saksi utamanya, Azizan Abu Bakar (yang mendakwa diliwat) yang berubah-ubah adalah keterangannya yang sering berubah itu tidak menunjukkan bahawa dia tidak boleh dipercayai ataupun bahawa keterangannya tidak kredibel.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Pendakwa mengenepikan isu; menjawab tanpa menjawab

Peguam Negara, Abdul Gani Patail tampil pada hari keenam perbicaraan rayuan Anwar Ibrahim dan Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja bagi menghujahkan kes responden (Pendakwa).

Hari ini adalah hari pertama bagi 'pihak yang satu lagi’ menjawab pelbagai tuduhan yang dibuat oleh perayu (Pembelaan) sepanjang lima hari sebelumnya, iaitu berhubung dengan perilaku hakim perbicaraan, Peguam Negara, Pendakwa, polis dan ramai lagi.

Mahkamah penuh sesak dengan orang awam dan penyokong Reformasi yang sanggup berbaris selama lebih daripada dua jam ‘sebelum masa pembukaan' bagi memastikan mereka dapat masuk ke dalam mahkamah. ‘Kuota’ yang disediakan memang terlalu sedikit - hanya sepuluh bagi wakil media, dua puluh bagi ahli keluarga, dan bakinya bagi orang awam.

Perkara yang paling dinanti-nantikan oleh setiap orang adalah bagaimanakah Pendakwa akan menjawab segala tuduhan Mala Fide, konspirasi, pertuduhan yang direka-reka, penyeksaan polis, ugutan, pemerasan, bukti-bukti palsu, keterangan yang bercanggah, dan segala elemen yang hanya dapat ditontoni dalam filem-filem Hollywood.

Pengemukaan selama lima hari sepanjang dua minggu yang lalu oleh Pembelaan benar-benar mengujakan. Tentu sahaja Pendakwa akan menambahkan keterujaan kepada perbicaraan rayuan yang paling panas di Malaysia pada abad ini.

Tetapi sayangnya harapan tinggal harapan. Kebanyakan orang terpaksa bertarung dengan rasa mengantuk. Kalaulah mereka terpaksa membayar untuk masuk, maka sudah pasti mereka akan menuntut agar wang mereka dikembalikan. Ini kerana konsert akhir tahun tadika pun lebih menyeronokkan daripada penghujahan Pendakwa. Bak kata pepatah, 'Indah khabar dari rupa'.

Ya, itulah hakikatnya; amat mengecewakan, antiklimaks, tiada persaingan langsung. Usaha lemah mereka membabitkan tindakan memetik peristiwa-peristiwa lepas dan lain-lain penghakiman di India dan England. Pada masa yang sama, Pendakwa tidak pun menjawab ataupun menafikan tuduhan yang dibuat Pembelaan.

Adalah jelas bahawa Pendakwa cuba menggunakan hujah teknikal bagi memenangi perbicaraan ini. Mereka berharap bahawa para hakim akan bersetuju dengan hujah mereka bahawa mereka tidak perlu menjawab ataupun menafikan tuduhan-tuduhan itu, tetapi bahawa tuduhan-tuduhan berkenaan tidak perlu dipertimbangkan sama sekali.

Ringkasnya, para hakim diminta untuk mengabaikan semua tuduhan yang dibuat dan menetapkan bahawa segala hujah Pembelaan adalah tidak relevan.

Ya, mereka mengharapkan ‘bantuan’ pernyataan "tak relevan", sebagaimana yang selalu digunakan oleh hakim perbicaraan sebelum itu, yang mana ia membantu mereka setiap kali Pembelaan berjaya mematahkan hujah mereka.

Pendakwa tahu bahawa mereka takkan mampu mematahkan hujah Pembelaan. Jadi, mereka hanya mengatakan bahawa segala sesuatu yang dikemukakan oleh Pembelaan selama lima hari pertama perbicaraan seharusnya dianggap sebagai tidak relevan dan tidak perlu dipertimbangkan. Dengan cara ini, maka dengan sekelip mata, keseluruhan hujah Pembelaan dapat dibuang begitu sahaja.

Kini, mari kita soroti hujah-hujah Pendakwa.

Keterangan yang tidak konsisten tidak membuktikan bahawa saksi seorang pembohong

Hujah utama Peguam Negara berkenaan keterangan saksi utamanya, Azizan Abu Bakar (yang mendakwa diliwat) yang berubah-ubah adalah keterangannya yang sering berubah tidak menunjukkan bahawa dia tidak boleh dipercayai ataupun bahawa keterangannya tidak kredibel.

"Isu utama rayuan ini adalah kebolehpercayaan Azizan," kata Peguam Negara. "Ini adalah isu yang paling penting bagi kedua-dua Pendakwa dan Pembelaan, yang mana hujah Pendakwa adalah didasarkan hampir sepenuhnya pada keterangannya (Azizan) - dengan demikian, kebolehpercayaannya (dipersoalkan)."

"Perayu berhujah bahawa Azizan tidak kredibel atas alasan yang akan kita bincangkan kemudian."

"Persoalannya adalah apakah yang akan berlaku apabila terdapat perbezaan ataupun percanggahan dalam keterangan seseorang saksi. Adakah ia akan menyebabkan dia kurang kredibel dan menyebabkan keterangannya ditolak secara total?”

"Percanggahan pasti akan berlaku sekalipun oleh saksi yang jujur dan berkecuali, dan kebenaran mutlak berada di luar persepsi manusia."

Peguam Negara kemudiannya menambah, "Sifat pelupa dan kegagalan bagi mengingati peristiwa-peristiwa tertentu secara tepat, yang tampaknya tidak penting baginya (saksi), tidak semestinya menjejaskan kredibiliti ataupun menyebabkan lain-lain bahagian dalam keterangannya tidak boleh dipercayai.”

"Hakikat bahawa terdapat perbezaan dalam keterangan seorang saksi tidak terus menyebabkannya menjadi saksi yang tidak boleh dipercayai dan tidak sekaligus menyebabkan keseluruhan keterangannya ditolak.”

Ringkasnya, Peguam Negara bersetuju bahawa Azizan tidak konsisten. Tetapi menurutnya, ini tidak bermakna bahawa dia adalah saksi yang tidak boleh dipercayai. Ia (tidak konsisten) adalah perkara biasa dan dapat diterima. Malah menurutnya lagi, tiada manusia yang konsisten sepanjang masa.

Peguam Negara kemudiannya berkata bahawa perbezaan dalam keterangan Azizan tidak melibatkan perkara yang material. Jadi, perbezaan/percanggahan itu langsung tidak menjejaskan keutuhan hujah terhadap Anwar dan Sukma.

"Keseluruhan keterangan saksi hanya perlu ditolak apabila keterangannya berhubung dengan perkara bersifat material ataupun ketara begitu bertentangan, ambivalen dan menafikan.”

Berkenaan dengan percanggahan yang ‘tidak material’ ataupun ‘kecil’ itu, Pendakwa sebenarnya merujuk kepada:

1. Pengakuan Azizan bahawa dia TIDAK diliwat oleh Anwar Ibrahim, yang mana dia kemudiannya mengatakan bahawa dia diliwat.

2. Azizan mencanggahi dirinya sendiri ketika dia memberitahu polis bahawa dia diliwat pada Mei 1994, yang mana sebelum itu, dia mengatakan bahawa dia diliwat pada Mei 1992. Kemudian, dia berkata pula bahawa dia diliwat antara Januari dan Mac 1993.

3. Azizan berkata bahawa dia tidak ingat sama ada dia memberitahu polis bahawa dia diliwat pada tahun 1992 ataupun tidak. Selepas itu, dia mengaku pula bahawa dia PERNAH memberitahu polis mengenai perkara itu.

4. Hakim perbicaraan sendiri berkata bahawa Azizan adalah saksi yang suka mengelak yang enggan menjawab soalan-soalan yang mudah sekalipun.

Walaupun hakim sendiri berpendapat bahawa Azizan kelihatan tidak kredibel, namun Pendakwa berhujah bahawa percanggahan di atas tidak begitu penting bagi kes itu. Bahkan Pendakwa menjelaskan, "Azizan telah menjelaskan segala perkara yang didakwa sebagai percanggahan itu."

"Kalau pun ada ketidaksamaan ataupun percanggahan, ia tidaklah begitu ketara sehingga merosakkan asas pertuduhan ataupun menyimpang dari paksi utama hujah Pendakwa.”

"Insiden itu didakwa terjadi sekitar enam tahun lepas. Oleh sebab itu, ketidaksamaan memang dijangka. Tetapi itu tentu sahaja tidak bererti bahawa Azizan berbohong. Azizan adalah saksi yang jujur."

Peguam Negara menyimpulkan dengan mengatakan bahawa bahagian-bahagian di mana keterangan Azizan bercanggah tidak penting bagi kes ini. Azizan mungkin mencanggahi dirinya dari segi tarikh dan masa, tetapi tempat kejadian tetap sama.

Akan tetapi, Peguam Negara tidak pula mematahkan hujah berkenaan hakikat bahawa Anwar mempunyai alibi yang kuat berhubung dengan masa dan tarikh yang 'tidak penting itu', dan bahawa Anwar membuktikan bahawa dia tidak pernah berada di tempat kejadian. Peguam Negara hanya memusatkan hujahnya pada keterangan Azizan bahawa insiden itu berlaku di Tivoli Villa, dan dia (Azizan) sentiasa konsisten dari segi tempat kejadian. Jadi, menurut Peguam Negara, sudah tentulah insiden itu benar-benar berlaku, sekalipun Azizan tidak dapat menyatakan tarikh dan masanya secara jelas, dan Pendakwa tidak berjaya menidakkan alibi Anwar.

Alasan yang diberikan atas tindakan Azizan mencanggahi dirinya sendiri adalah kerana dia menjadi keliru apabila terpaksa menjawab begitu banyak soalan dan juga kerana dia tidak berpendidikan tinggi. Oleh yang demikian, dia tidak dapat diharapkan untuk mempamerkan sifat konsisten.

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