Anwar to testify in assessment of damages in suit

Anwar to testify in assessment of damages in suit
PHOTO: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be testifying on Tuesday in the assessment of his award for damages in the defamation suit over his comments to the BBC during an interview on homosexuality laws.

On Monday , High Court judge Justice Hue Siew Kheng dismissed an application by Utusan Melayu to stay the hearing of the assessment of damages.

Justice Hue held that there was no merit in the stay application, said Anwar' lawyer N.Surendran, after both parties met Hue in chambers.

Surendran said the judge also allowed RM1,000 (S$326) in costs.

The judge had also held that the Court of Appeal had decided that Section 55 of the Evidence Act prohibits use of previous conviction to portray bad character of a person.

Anwar's co counsel Shahid Adli Kamaruddin said Utusan wants to cross-examine the former Opposition leader for the assessment of damages at 2.30pm on Tuesday.

Utusan's lawyer, Muhammad Asmirul Asraf Fadli, also confirmed this.

This follows Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd failing in its second bid to include Anwar's sodomy conviction in its statement of defence over his defamation suit against the publisher.

On Sept 4, the Court of Appeal denied Utusan Melayu's attempt to include the mention of Anwar's Sodomy II conviction in the course of the former Opposition leader's defamation suit against the publisher.

Anwar had won his claim in January 2013 after a High Court ruled in his favour in his suit against Utusan Melayu for publishing two articles on his comments to the BBC during an interview on homosexuality laws.

The former Permatang Pauh MP had named Utusan Melayu and its editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak as defendants.

In his ruling, now-retired High Court judge Justice V. T. Singham ordered RM45,000 in costs to be paid by the defendants to Anwar and his damages to be assessed later.

Justice Singham ruled in his judgment that the words in the articles were defamatory and could bring down Anwar's reputation and political standing by suggesting he would not make a suitable leader of the Federal Government.

Justice Singham said that nowhere in the BBC interview did Anwar say he promoted gay and lesbian rights.

On Jan 20 2012, Anwar filed the lawsuit alleging that the defendants had published two libellous articles against him on the front page and page 10 of the Utusan Malaysia newspaper, dated Jan 17, 2012, in relation to his BBC interview.

The Court of Appeal had on Jan 15 last year upheld the High Court's ruling.

On Feb 10, the Federal Court upheld Anwar's conviction and his five-year jail term set by a Court of Appeal for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in June 2008.

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