The lawyer for Muhammed Yusoff Rawther, the man at the centre of sexual assault allegations against PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, has urged Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to recuse himself from the case.
Haniff Khatri Abdulla said Thomas had in the past recorded his opinion that the sodomy charges against Anwar were part of a political conspiracy, and as such his impartiality in deciding this latest case involving his client was questionable.
“Is Thomas, in his capacity as the Attorney General, qualified to make an unbiased decision based on the principles of natural justice?” he asked.
Haniff said Thomas had suggested in an article posted on the Bar Council website eight years ago that Anwar was a victim of political conspiracy in the sodomy case involving his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
“Having formed such an opinion clearly shows elements of conflict of interest, giving rise to questions of whether (Thomas) is qualified in making a decision on the investigation papers handed over by the police after investigating Yusoff’s complaint,” Haniff said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 7).
The police had on Monday (Jan 6) announced that they have handed over the investigation papers on Yusoff’s case to the Attorney General’s office for further action.
Haniff lauded the police for completing their investigation within a month of Yusoff lodging his complaint on Dec 7 last year.
He added that Thomas should issue a formal statement to allay perceptions that rule of law and natural justice might be compromised.
“In observing the principles of natural justice and supremacy of the law, Thomas should recuse himself from playing any role in handling the investigation papers involving Yussof’s complaint,” he said when asked to elaborate on his statement.
Yusoff voluntarily took a polygraph test last month to assist investigations into his complaint.
Anwar gave his statement to the police on Dec 12.
Meanwhile, former attorney-general Abu Talib Othman says it is up to Tommy Thomas to decide whether to recuse himself from going through the investigation papers related to the sexual assault complaint against Anwar Ibrahim.
He said that as the AG who also doubles as public prosecutor, Thomas is entitled to look into the papers and decide whether to prosecute or otherwise.
“It is totally unfair to pre-judge him and question his integrity without evidence,” said Abu Talib, who was the AG from 1980 to 1993.
“He is the AG and you cannot hold the past against him. It is his call or else it will be seen as him abdicating from his duty as AG and public prosecutor,” he was quoted as saying to FMT.
Abu Talib said Thomas, being a former senior counsel and now the AG, knew what was right and wrong in the name of justice.
“As the saying goes, justice must not only be done, it must also be seen to be done.
“Thomas would know what needs to be done in holding that public office,” he said.
Abu Talib said Thomas would also be assisted by his deputy public prosecutors in arriving at any decision.