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Friday, June 4, 2010

What Penetration?

In the run-up to Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial, his lawyers including senior counsel Sivarasa Rasiah had warned that in the end the government would try to nail the Opposition Leader based on fabricated DNA evidence.

And it looks like they may have guessed correctly.

On Thursday, lead prosecutor Mohd Yusof Zainal Abidin managed to get Dr Mohd Razali Ibrahim, one of three HKL doctors who examined complainant Saiful Bukhari Azlan, to stun the Court by agreeing that there was anal penetration.

"With all these reports I have now, there is evidence of penetration even without clinical injuries found on the complainant," Mohd Razali said.

No, he did not reverse or overturn his own HKL medical report, which in fact, he stood by. Corroborated by two colleagues, the report had stated there were no conclusive clinical findings suggesting there was penetration of the anus nor were there any significant defensive wound on the complainant's body.

A second medical report from Hospital Pusrawi also came to the same conclusion. Why then did Dr Mohd Razali, who has handled more than 100 cases involving the anal area, tell the Court that he “would say there was penile penetration"?

Malaysia Chronicle spoke to Sivarasa who explained that it was because Mohd Razali was making an inference based on the Chemistry Department's report and not from his own direct evidence, which is the HKL medical report.

“Mohd Razali has no right to make such an inference as he is responsible only for his own medical examination and report, which he has confirmed. He stands by the HKL report which states very clearly there were no signs of penetration,” Sivarasa said.

“But based on the Chemistry Department’s report of having found semen on the swabs, Dr Mohd Razali put two and two together and now he claims there was penetration. Obviously, we will ask the Court to reject this inference and focus on the doctor’s direct evidence, which I repeat is the HKL medical report.

"The chemistry report is none of his business. It is the Chemistry Department which is responsible for the identification of the semen and DNA samples and not Dr Mohd Razali. Any inference on this aspect should come from the Chemistry Department as it is their direct evidence, not Razali's.”

During Anwar's first sodomy trial in 1998, the Chemistry Department found semen on a mattress but the findings were so weak that during cross-examination, its testimony was discredited and had to be rejected by the Court.

Dr Mohd Razali will be cross-examined by the defense soon, while the Chemistry Department has yet to testify.

Nevertheless, the doctor's sensational testimony has stirred up a media storm with the mainstream press quick to insinuate that medical evidence did indeed show penetration.

“Not true at all. As I said, Razali actually confirmed the HKL medical report that there was no evidence of penetration. He only deduced there was penetration when he was asked by the prosecutor to take into account the Chemistry Department’s report and he should not do that because the Chemistry Department's findings could be badly flawed,” Sivarasa said.

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