Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial has been postponed due to the illness of his lead counsel, the High Court decided on Wednesday.
Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohamad Diah accepted the defence request over the objections of the prosecution, which said other lawyers could handle the case in which Anwar is accused of having sexual relations with a male aide.
The allegations, which carry a penalty of 20 years imprisonment, are the latest to hit Anwar, who was sacked as deputy prime minister and jailed on separate sodomy and corruption charges a decade ago.
The judge said that on July 15 the court will hear a defence application for disclosure of evidence against Anwar, and set a date for another application to strike out the case altogether.
"Until and unless we dispose of the application, we cannot start with the trial," he told the court.
Defence lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah said that Anwar's lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah was in hospital after complaining of dizziness, and undergoing medical tests.
"We are hoping to complete the investigations by the end of the week. No doubt it has public interest -- we do not see the need to be rushed along at an undue pace since the lead counsel is unwell," he told reporters.