Thursday 22 September 2011

McDonald: Anwar's case the only such one in the world

The Australian DNA expert describes Anwar Ibrahim's case, where the chemist retrieved DNA after 56 hours in the rectum, and left it for another 48 hours in the open, as one of the longest documented discoveries in the world, if the results can be believed.

Dr Brian McDonald said it was extremely rare that one could find sperm after 113 hours in the rectum, in referring to a 1997 article shown to him two days ago by the prosecution.

“That case, along with the 1982 case (which states that sperm can be retrieved after 65 hours), are the only two documented. In 99.9 percent (of the cases), you cannot find sperm at all after such long hours.

“However, this (Anwar) case is the only one (that I know of) in the world where the sperm can be captured after 56 hours and given to the chemist two days later, where you can still find a good DNA sample,” McDonald said.

He was responding to questions from Ramkarpal Singh during re-examination today.

McDonald had two days ago concurred with suggestions by solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, over the finding in the article titled 'Sexual Assault and Semen Persistence' written by GM Willot and JE Ellard. Ellard was the scientist who made the 1982 discovery that the sperm can last for 65 hours.

McDonald said that to his knowledge and according to some journals, one could find a good DNA after the sample was retrieved from the rectum after eight hours.
azlanAnwar is charged with sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at the Desa Damansara condominium between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Saiful was examined at the Hospital Kuala Lumpur between 9pm on June 28 and midnight on June 29, 2008, where the samples were retrieved.

Investigating officer Supt Jude Blacious Pereira admitted in court that he did not keep the samples in the refrigerator, but placed them in the drawer of his air-conditioned office. Jude gave the samples to chemist Dr Seah Lay Hong two days later.

McDonald said findings of sperm having lasted 113 hours in the rectum are not normal.

“In my experience for the last 20 years, it (such a case) would give poor results.”

He emphasised that degradation was an issue as the credibility of the sample was put at stake.

“It is 56 hours in rectum and 48 hours outside and yet you find pristine nature in the findings.”

'I do not intend to mislead the court'

The Australian, when quizzed by Ramkarpal, denied suggestions made by the prosecution that he intended to mislead the court when criticising Seah's testing method.

NONE“I conceded a mistake in my testimony on Seah (right) doing the acid phosphatase (AP) test on the 10 swabs retrieved from Saiful. The AP test was on Saiful's trousers and underpants.

“I do not intend to mislead the court (by testifying so). It is also not a question of honesty. I misread the evidence. It would be good to have some evidence in this matter, as in this case. The documentation in this case has been restricted as the amount of evidence (given to the defence) is limitedly given by Seah.”

There has been an order to limit the access of documents to the defence, although presiding judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah had initially ordered the prosecution to supply the required documents to the defence.

Explaining further on the issue of degradation and his pristine comments, McDonald said it was limited to the swabs B7, B8 and B9.

“Her (Seah's) comment was, there was degradation, but she cannot see it.

“We have a history (of other cases) of high level degradation, but the evidence shows no amount of degradation in Male Y DNA or the sperm fraction.”

The case continues on Sept 29, with hearing of the application to set aside the subpoenaes served on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor.
The trial proper continues between Oct 3 and 7 before Justice Zabidin.

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