KUALA LUMPUR – The first day of former Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony’s defence hearing on a charge with committing forgery for the purpose of cheating, which had been fixed for today, was postponed following the appointment of a new counsel to represent him.
Judge Azura Alwi allowed the hearing to be postponed after deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin informed the court that Peter had appointed a new lawyer and requested for today’s proceeding to be vacated.
Wan Shaharuddin then introduced the new lawyer, Peter, S. Devanandan, who replaced lawyer Munawar Kabir Mohd Zainal Abidin, who had represented Peter, along with lawyer Datuk D. Senthinathan.
Meanwhile, Wan Shaharuddin also informed the court that the defence should submit its witness statements to the prosecution within a week before the witnesses were to testify.
“The prosecution has not received the statements of the defence witness which should have been submitted today,” he said.
Devanandan then told the court that he had yet to meet his client to get further instruction, but said that the defence would call four witnesses, including Peter, and that their statements would be submitted as requested by the prosecution.
The court then set new dates for the defence hearing, namely Feb 9, 10 and from 16 to 18.
Peter was ordered by the Sessions Court here last Dec 14 to enter his defence on a charge with falsifying a letter from the office of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Deputy Vice-Chancellor for a system maintenance contract work at the university in 2014.
Azura made the decision after finding that the prosecution had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against Peter, 50, at the end of the prosecution case.
Peter was charged as the managing director of Syarikat Asli Jati with having falsified a letter from the office of UMS deputy vice-chancellor dated June 9, 2014, by inserting a false statement with intention to cheat.
The offence was allegedly committed at the office of the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary at the Federal Government Administrative Centre, Putrajaya, between June 13 and Aug 21, 2014.
The charge was framed under Section 468 of the Penal Code for forging a document for the purpose of cheating which provides an imprisonment for up to seven years and fine, if found guilty.