Hornbill Unleashed

June 25, 2013

Defence: Not calling Najib’s ex-aide constitutes a mistrial

Hafiz Yatim

Not calling in a former aide-de camp of then deputy prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, Deputy Supt Musa Safri, to testify in the murder trial of Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar constituted a mistrial, the Court of Appeal was told today.

Lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, who is acting for Sirul Azhar, the second accused in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial, said only Musa could verify the veracity of the controversial affidavit filed by the third accused in the murder, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, which led to Abdul Razak’s acquittal.

Kamarul said Abdul Razak’s phone records showed more than 30 text messages that the political analyst sent to Musa (left) between Oct 7 and 19, 2006, of which 12 were recorded on Oct 19, 2006, the night Altantuya was murdered.

altantuya razak baginda murder 030707 dsp musa safri

“It is only Musa who can vouch for the credibility and veracity of Abdul Razak’s affidavit. However the prosecution decided not to call Musa in to verify this.

“For us, Musa should have been called by the prosecution (for the murder trial in the High Court in Shah Alam) to verify or rebut what Abdul Razak claimed in his affidavit.

“Certainly, with the affidavit there and if Abdul Razak had been called, he would have stick to what was written. But there was no opportunity for the defence to challenge this as Musa was not called,” Kamarul said.

Therefore, he added, the court was deprived of what took place in the conversation between Abdul Razak and Musa on that fateful night.

Kamarul also pointed out that Shah Alam High Court judge Mohd Zaki Md Yassin’s judgment did not state any motive for the murder.

He said one of the greatest debates emanating from the murder of the Mongolian woman, during and after the trial and even till today, was the lack of motive as cited in the judgment in which the two former police officers were found two guilty.

“Whatever the motive was, it is a matter of law that the motive, although relevant, has never been the essential to constitute murder,” Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin said in his 70-page judgment released in March 2012.

Kamarul said this when submitting before a three-member bench headed by Justice Md Apandi Ali. The other judges are Justices Linton Albert and Tengku Maimum Tuan Mat.

Adverse publicity

The defence counsel also argued over the adverse publicity, an additional ground put in earlier this month, which may have influenced the judge’s mind following the late P Balasubramaniam’s statutory declaration and his retraction, and also Sirul Azhar’s cautioned statement, which was uploaded on the Internet by blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

“Such publication has resulted in adverse publicity to my client as the judge was in the process of hearing submissions at the end of defence case,” Kamarul said

Justice Apandi retorted, asking where in the judgment did the judge indicate that he was influenced.

He asked whether the lawyer thought the judge had the time to look at the Internet.

“We act on facts and what is presented in the case. Do not challenge our independence in delivering our decision,” Justice Apandi said.

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