Pristine’ DNA profiles inconsistent with degradation, foreign expert tells Sodomy II
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — The DNA profiles found in Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan’s anus were “pristine” despite the fact they were extracted more than 65 hours after a sex act is alleged to have taken place, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial heard today.
Australian DNA expert Dr Brian McDonald said the DNA profiles in three sperm samples taken from the complainant’s rectum showed “no evidence of degradation”.
Dr McDonald told the High Court here today that the DNA profile in one high rectal sample was pre-dominantly from “Male Y”, another was pre-dominantly Saiful’s, and the third — from the low rectal area — was inconclusive.
Government chemist Nor Aidora Saedon testified last February that the “Male Y” DNA profile matched those found on a “Good Morning” towel given to Anwar during his overnight detention in lock-up three years ago, when he was arrested for sodomising Saiful.
Anwar had refused to provide DNA samples in his first sodomy trial in 1998 for fear they could be manipulated.
Former Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim also claimed last January that DNA evidence was fabricated in the Opposition Leader’s first sodomy trial.
Augustine Paul, the presiding judge then, expunged the entire DNA evidence to protect the integrity of the prosecution’s case.
The 64-year-old former deputy prime minister has dismissed his current sodomy trial as a political conspiracy to end his career.
He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted under section 377B of the Penal Code for sodomising his former aide Saiful in 2008.
The defence has previously highlighted the fact that the samples swabbed from Saiful’s anus were also stored in an airtight receptacle and kept in a locker at room temperature, which Dr McDonald has said violated fundamental laboratory practices.
The bespectacled scientist said yesterday that the samples should have been smeared onto a glass slide, air-dried and immediately frozen at -20 degrees Centrigrade, to stop the growth of bacteria from destroying the sperm cells.
Australian forensic pathologist Dr David Wells also admitted recently the possibility of finding sperm heads inside a person’s rectum up to 65 hours after sex, but pointed out that a scientific finding could not be based on such a rare occurrence.
The defence expert witness was responding to a point raised by the prosecution of a separate case where sperm heads were discovered up to 65 hours after sex, shower and defecation.
Doctors from Hospital Kuala Lumpur who examined Saiful two days after the alleged sodomy have said they managed to obtain DNA specimens from the complainant’s rectum despite a lapse of 56 hours, which has been a key issue disputed by Anwar’s defence team.
Defence lawyer Sankara Nair, however, pointed out last Wednesday that the integrity of the sperm samples were even more questionable because a total of 90 hours had passed before the specimens were sent to the laboratory for analysis.
The trial resumes on September 19. ~~ MI