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Kuala Lumpur: The lawyer who represented Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his qazaf bid at the Syariah Court apologised in open court to lawyer Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar yesterday.
This is following an out-of-court settlement reached in the RM10 million defamation suit by Zainul against syarie lawyer Kamar Ainiah Kamaruzaman.
Before Kamar Ainiah made her open court apology, lawyers Datuk Mohd Haziq Pillay and Nizam Bashir, who represented Zainul, and lawyer Azhar Arman Ali, who represented Kamar Ainiah, recorded a consent order before High Court judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.
Zainul had filed the suit in February naming Kamar Ainiah and law firm Messrs Kamar Ainiah, Razif and Zashidi as defendants.
He claimed that Kamar Ainiah had defamed him during a press conference at the syariah court on Aug 18 last year. (Zainul had represented Federal Territory syariah chief prosecutor Shamsuddin Hussain, Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department director Datuk Che MatChe Ali and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Maj-Gen (R) Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom, who were named as defendants by Anwar in his application to get Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the complainant in his sodomy case, prosecuted for qazaf).
Zainul, in his suit, claimed that his reputation had been tarnished and he suffered distress and embarrassment because of the alleged defamatory statements.
He alleged he had also lost a number of clients and, therefore, lost profits.
In her apology yesterday, Kamar Ainiah, who was speaking on behalf of herself and her firm, said: "We have said certain things - and our client has also said certain things to the press regarding the plantiff - on that day.
"We understand that, whatever was said on that day, had caused embarrassment and distress to the plaintiff. We admit that we have no basis to support the allegations. Consequently, we apologise without any reservation and express our sincere regret to Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar for any mental distress, damage and suffering sustained by him."
The lawyer also apologised for any suspicion that may have arose against Zainul as a consequence of the allegations.
She qualified however that this apology was not to be used in the syariah proceedings filed by her client.
The judge then commended both parties for coming to this amicable settlement in the holy month of Ramadhan.
Outside the court, Zainul told reporters that with the apology, he considered the matter settled.
"As I've been telling my lawyers, from the very beginning, the reason I filed this suit was to clear my name."