Anwar trial: Series of errors in DNA evidence

Anwar trial: Series of errors in DNA evidence

PUTRAJAYA - The defence has brought up what it called a series of errors in the DNA evidence which it contended rendered "unsafe" the conviction of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic) on a charge of sodomy.

Co-counsel Ramkarpal Singh raised the issue of contamination in the DNA sample taken from Anwar's former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, saying there were traces of another contributor.

He told the Federal Court that the chemist did not report it even though the amount traced was enough to be reported under the guidelines of the Chemistry Department.

Ramkarpal said the Court of Appeal had misdirected itself by not taking into account that the prosecution had no argument to rebutt the contamination allegation.

He said investigating officer Jude Periera's testimony where he admitted to opening sealed envelopes containing DNA evidence, in contradiction to police guidelines, showed that the evidence had been tampered with.

"Yet the Court of Appeal did not find opening the envelopes to amount to tampering," said Ramkarpal.

He said the Court of Appeal had made a grievous misdirection by agreeing with the High Court that it was the defence's duty to prove tampering, when it was actually the prosecution's task to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the evidence was legitimate.

Ramkarpal said the Court of Appeal had also erred by taking as gospel the testimony of three doctors that penile penetration had occurred, as claimed by Mohd Saiful, although they were initially unsure about it.

He said the doctors had changed their opinion after referring to the DNA evidence that was likely tampered with by Periera, and were possibly not even the same samples taken from Mohd Saiful.

"The Court of Appeal clearly shut their mind off to a critical issue: whether or not there was a break in the chain of evidence, and that there was a real possibility the wrong samples were analysed," said Ramkarpal.

After hearing Ramkarpal explaining the process of DNA profiling for over 10 minutes, Justice Suriyadi Halim Omar commented: "You're quite the expert about this stuff."

"No, no, I'm not an expert. I've just gone through the whole process in detail," replied Ramkarpal, causing laughter in the courtroom.

Justice Arifin Zakaria, who is chairing the five-man panel, set the hearing to continue on Friday, with Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to begin submissions for the prosecution.

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