Sexual assault suit: Anwar files discovery for messages between him and Yusoff

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Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is seeking a court order to obtain WhatsApp messages between him and Muhammad Yusoff Rawther.

The PKR president is seeking these messages and several other items to strengthen his defence and counterclaim against Yusoff’s lawsuit against him over an alleged sexual assault at the veteran politician’s home in Bukit Segambut in 2018.

It was previously reported that in a statement of defence and counterclaim against the lawsuit, Anwar contended that the sexual assault allegations were “false and fabricated”.

It was also contended that the allegations were politically motivated to tarnish the Port Dickson MP’s political image and prevent him from becoming the prime minister.

Yusoff claimed to have once been Anwar’s research assistant, while the latter disputed this and contended that Yusoff was a junior volunteer at a PKR office at Jalan Gasing in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

According to a copy of the discovery application sighted by Malaysiakini, Anwar seeks for Yusoff to produce “copies of all WhatsApp conversations between the plaintiff (Yusoff) and defendant (Anwar) from Sept 2, 2018, to June 5, 2019”.

Among other documents that the PKR president seeks are copies of Yusoff’s statutory declaration (SD) dated Nov 19, 2019, as well as a police report dated Dec 7 the same year.

The SD contains the sexual assault allegations, while the police report is on an alleged incident where Anwar’s political secretary Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak purportedly assaulted Yusoff on May 16, 2019.

Anwar is also seeking copies of all alleged medical reports of injuries and medical treatment allegedly sought by Yusoff, following the purported assault.

Yusoff revealed the SD at a press conference on Dec 4, 2019.

The media briefing was held just a day before the PKR annual national delegates’ congress in Malacca.

In the press conference via video on Facebook, Yusoff also claimed that his police report accusing Farhash of assaulting him at Anwar’s office in Petaling Jaya had been ignored.

Incidentally, Yusoff and Farhash have launched suits against each other over the assault allegation. However, it was reported that they were attempting mediation to try to resolve the legal actions.

“I am advised by my solicitors and verily believe that the documents sought to be discovered against the plaintiff (Yusoff) are crucial to verify various factual events pleaded in the plaintiff’s SOC (statement of claim) and Reply, including the plaintiff’s allegations which I have set out in Paragraph 7 above,” Anwar contended in the discovery application filed on Nov 22.

Anwar was referring to Yusoff’s allegation that Farhash perpetrated the assault purportedly on Anwar’s orders, due to Yusoff allegedly rejecting the Port Dickson MP’s purported sexual advances.

“I am advised by my solicitors and verily believe that it is necessary that I be allowed to peruse and take a copy of the documents as they are significant evidence to the core issues in dispute, which will assist in the fair disposal of this suit and/or saving costs.

“In this respect, the discovery of the documents would contain information which would help prove the material allegations of the plaintiff’s (Yusoff’s) case and/or would directly or indirectly enable me to advance my case,” Anwar contended.

Meanwhile, in an affidavit in reply to Anwar’s discovery application, Yusoff claimed the legal move was a “fishing expedition” and “an attempt to delay the trial of the main suit”.

Yusoff contended the documents sought are well within Anwar’s knowledge and that most are available in the public domain.

He claimed the WhatsApp conversations are between him and Anwar, therefore they should already have been in the latter’s own possession.

Yusoff contended that his SD is easily available via a “simple Google search”, and that Anwar was allegedly already well aware of the document’s contents as Anwar’s private secretary purportedly lodged a police report over the SD back on Nov 5, 2019.

“I am advised by my solicitors and verily believe that it is starkly evident that the defendant’s (Anwar’s) present (discovery) application is a fishing expedition and therefore an attempt to delay the trial of the main suit.

“The discovery application herein is by no means a genuine effort by the defendant to attain a fair disposal of the main suit and to save costs. In fact, the opposite is the case,” Yusoff claimed.

He contended that the documents sought are not relevant nor necessary for the fair disposal of the main legal action.

When contacted by Malaysiakini, Yusoff’s counsel Mahajoth Singh confirmed both Anwar’s discovery application and his client’s affidavit in reply against the said bid.

Mahajoth said the High Court in Kuala Lumpur has set Feb 8 next year to hear the discovery application. – Malaysiakini