Hornbill Unleashed

January 23, 2014

Putrajaya’s appeal hits snag as cop acquitted of Altantuya murder goes missing

V. ANBALAGAN

Putrajaya’s appeal before the Federal Court in the high-profile murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu may have hit a snag as one of the two policemen acquitted of the crime has reportedly gone missing, say sources.

Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar walked out a free man after his appeal against the High Court conviction was set aside last August.

Since then, the policeman has not contacted his lead counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, who represented him during trial and in the Court of Appeal, the sources said.

But Kamarul told The Malaysian Insider that he was still on record as representing Sirul in the Federal Court “until and unless notified on the contrary”.

The lawyer declined comment when asked whether he had contacted Sirul or if the former policeman had contact the lawyer on instructions to retain him as counsel in the Federal Court.

However, lead counsel Datuk Azman Ahmad, who is appearing for Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, said his client had given the nod to retain the same lawyers.

Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar's lead counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin has not heard from his client since Sirul was set free. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 22, 2014.

A Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar’s lead counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin has not heard from his client since Sirul was set free. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 22, 2014.zman said the Federal Court served him a copy of the public prosecutor’s petition of appeal early this month.

Both Sirul and Azilah are still under suspension from the police force. They were previously commandos with Bukit Aman’s Special Action Squad.

Lawyers well versed in criminal procedures said it was best for counsel to obtain consent from the client to determine if their services were still needed.

“Clients may want to change their lawyers and that is their right. Lawyers cannot assume that clients want to retain their services,” said a counsel who declined to be identified.

Normally, a criminal appeal would not proceed if the respondent was absent.

The public prosecutor would apply for a warrant of arrest from the appellate court to locate the respondent and bring him to court. If this failed, the court will strike out the public prosecutor’s appeal.

An example is the case in November 2010 where the Court of Appeal upheld the acquittal of two former bodyguards of a businessman accused of murdering a Chinese teenager.

On September 20, 2005, the High Court freed Resty Agpalo, Mohamad Najib Zulkifli and businessman Koh Kim Teck of the murder of Koh’s nephew, student Xu Jian Huang, 14, at a bungalow in Jalan Mengkuang, off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, in 2004.

The court had earlier struck out the prosecution’s appeal against Koh’s acquittal following its (the prosecution’s) failure to produce the businessman in court on several occasions.

Since Koh could not be located and was acquitted, both Resty and Najib were also freed.

During the 36-day trial, the prosecution’s case was that the boy was tortured and then murdered for stealing RM30,000 belonging to his uncle.

In Altantuya’s case, the public prosecutor filed its petition of appeal on January 3 by revealing in detail, the grounds it intended to pursue to reverse the acquittal of Sirul and Azilah.

Among them is that the conviction of the two police commandos should remain intact even without the testimony of the prime minister’s aide-de-camp, DSP Musa Safri, as he was only a peripheral figure in the case.

The Court of Appeal had ruled on August 23, 2013 that the prosecution’s failure to call Musa had weakened Putrajaya’s case against the two cops.

The prosecutors had listed five other reasons the three-man Court of Appeal bench was wrong, in law and facts, to allow the cops to escape the gallows.

The policemen had been found guilty of murdering Altantuya at Mukim Bukit Raja in Shah Alam between 10pm on October 19, and 1am on October 20, 2006.

Both were convicted and sentenced to death but on August 23, 2009, the Court of Appeal allowed their appeal and set them free because of a lack of evidence.

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12 Comments »

  1. High profile criminals, Kangaroo court, crooked AG and warped system! Let God deal with them with a hard blow. It’s just a matter of time. Just wait and see.

    Comment by Sharpshooter — January 23, 2014 @ 10:54 PM | Reply

    • If you mean Zeus the Greek god, he is still sound as sleep. His lightning apparatus is still charging that why whatever happen down here he takes no notice. Maybe we should call Thor. You saw the movie of Thor coming to earth with a monstrous hammer. But yet he can afford to like a mortal girl. No much help either.

      Comment by realistic reporter — January 24, 2014 @ 9:42 AM | Reply

  2. …and to those who have had a HIDDEN hand…you may think you’d ‘escape’ and think nothing of it but for the ALL SEEING EYES OF GOD…HE PROMISED THAT RUINS WILL FOLLOW YOU…as mentioned in His holy book … And the ONLY WAY to escape the WRATH OF GOD – REPENT AND CONFESS…forget RITUALS which is NOT COMMANDED…

    Comment by Tereschin — January 23, 2014 @ 5:15 PM | Reply

  3. To me the decision of the Court of Appeal to acquit and free the two policemen who were earlier convicted by High Court Judge that heard the trial is correct. the 2 policemen would never have done things like murdering Altantuya, a complete stranger and a person unknown to them, and worse to blow up her body into fine pieces without instruction from their senior(s).

    In that case DSP Musa Safri being their “commander” for them who were part of the elite squad of security details for DPM Najid (as he then was) surely would be able to shed light as to what transpired after Altantuya was taken away from the view of Bala, the private investigator, who was then in front of the residence of and provided security to Razak Baginda,

    That said DSP Musa was not brought in as a witness although his name was mentioned in court gives rise to an important element is missing. For convicting the 2 accused of murder would require proof beyond reasonable doubt, and with the important element is missing, grave doubt loomed large. Surely a conviction is not safe. Thus acquittal of the two (2) policemen accused of murdering Altantuya by the Court of Appeal was correct.

    The prosecution appealing the said acquittal is as a matter of performing their duty. In that regard they should have appealed the acquittal of Razak Baginda as well which was not.

    Although should they appeal the acquittal of Razak Baginda that doubt would have exposed, although it was obvious from the very beginning, that important missing element in the prosecution case even at the close of the prosecution case. And that would probably leave the court hearing it no option than to not to call the accused to put their defence.

    I would surmise in that scenario the 2 accused would have got scot-free too soon and could have spoken about their experiences too early. Indeed much more speculation as to who killed Altantuya would have gone viral. So keeping the two accused policemen inside the prison by convicting them in the meantime was a strategic decision to let water flow beneath the bridge.

    Their release after the decision of acquittal by Court of Appeal occurred after so many years they had been behind bar. And even if they are now talking about their experiences, the truth and or untruth of the story as to how, from their knowledge, Altantuya was killed and blown to bits by c4, all of those details are now purely academic.

    All the more so that P I Bala has also died. Anybody actually involved in the murder of Altantuya can breathe easy now, ie, if they are still in this country. The disappearance of one of them after their release from prison will only complicate the case of finding for the truth. Indeed no truth about who killed Altantuya in such a brutal fashion, and under what motivation to do so, will be known for ever, not in Malaysia anyway.

    Comment by anak sarawak — January 23, 2014 @ 12:58 PM | Reply

    • Rosmah’s son should write a script and movie to be produced. It can be a very intriguing story. Sure, a box office for Malaysian cinemas. Who will act as Altantuya and also the role of that “strategic thinker” who got way scotch free with $$$$$$ commission from submarine deal ?

      Comment by realistic reporter — January 23, 2014 @ 1:45 PM | Reply

    • Anak Sarawak, you are wrong, the decision to acquit is wrong. The decision to acquit was to prevent them from disclosing who is the mastermind or instructed them. They have to be acquitted because they were on the point to disclose everything. And no matter who instructs you to commit an evil act, you still can decide or choose to do it or not to do it. Human beings must have conscience or principle to be humans, not devil. So, whatever it is, the decision to acquit them is totally wrong and unacceptable.

      Comment by Sharpshooter — January 24, 2014 @ 7:39 PM | Reply

      • The point I made when saying the Court of Appeal’s decision on the Altanatuya’s murder case was based on the legal doctrine that a person is innocent until proved guilty. And to prove one’s guilt the prosecution must adduce credible corroborative evidences, and including motive. The latter ingredient of course can be inferred or gleaned from the circumstances unless there are evidences otherwise suggesting the obvious.

        I was not saying the Court of Appeal’s decision was correct to enabling the 2 men who were released from prison to escape and thus preventing them to spill the beans on what they know. Neither was I saying that the killing of Altantuya, an innocent visitor to our country, was not despicable, immoral and totally wrong. Of course I condemn the killing of the innocent Altantuya who from the Bala’s narratives in his SD was pregnant. For that matter I would condemn anybody killing anyone.

        To me even capital punishment is wrong because the process of justice sometimes can be tainted biased and or simply planned prosecution by certain authority can be in the works thus tainting the whole process. Sometimes witnesses after swearing to tell the truth and nothing but the truth will tell lies that can be seen through their teeth. And in spite of lies were told, at times the court would convict anyhow based on those evidences so adduced even by liars. On that score I do not agree to the capital punishment.

        On the other hand however the judicial process has to be based on the rule of law and due process. And that brings us back to the doctrine that a person is innocent until proved guilty in a court of law. The standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. In the Altantuya case, ie in the High Court trial DSP Musa who was last seen by PI Bala, who testified, to leave the scene in front of Baginda’s residence together with Altantuya was not brought in as a witness. I opine that the prosecution should have brought him in as a witness. Not only because he was in charge of security details protecting DPM Najib, and that the two accused who were found guilty and convicted by High Court but were released by the Court of Appeal’s decision were part of that security details, but more importantly because he was the last to have been seen by PI Bala who testified to that effect. In fact DSP Musa would have been able to shed light on the ‘motive’ for the killing had he been brought in as a witness. But he was not even introduced in Court. Of course that is the right of the prosecution to being him or not as a witness. But that is where the doubt had loomed large in the prosecution case, and couple with the absence of motive. That’s why I said the Court of Appeal’s decision is correct; it is correct based on the insufficient facts as adduced and proved in the High Court’s trial. The prosecution adduced evidences were not sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the 2 accused had killed Altantuya.

        Coming back to issue of capital punishment. If going by your analogy the two were accused, tried, and convicted in High Court based on insufficient evidences and without any proof of motive. And were it on the issue that killing is immoral and despicable alone the Court of Appeal had decided to uphold the High Court’s judgment, then the two would have gone to hang after the Court of Appeal’s decision. And knowing the whole case as it is, and more that the High Court Judge even said that despite there was no motive for the killing adduced by the prosecution yet he convicted them, their hanging, had that been the case, which it is not, would then see two innocent men would have died based on an erroneous judgment. And their death would be like one of the accused was saying: “he was a kembing hitam or a sacrificial lamb” so that the real killers would go scot free. However I rather prefer and I agree their release from prison than for them to be hanged for the wrong reason and or based on an erroneous judgment, ie, to err on the side of caution is better than to rush to judgment.

        From a distance and by having read the High Court Judgment, PI Bala’s SD I and SD II, and as well as the decision of the Court of Appeal and the various grounds upon which the decision was based, I know, like any other sane and sensible Malaysians, that (I) the killing of Altantuya is wrong immoral and despicable, and (ii) who ever did the killing should be punished for it. If not on this Earth, when they meet their creator, they will. High position can protect them while on Earth but all these earthly powers are mere temporally. There is and will be no escape from the judgment of HIM above us all.

        However, the final fiat to the whole Altantuya’s case is one that can be safely said that there was a hell lot of cover up in the whole process, from top right down. Why, even before the trial started, there were changes in the Judge hearing the case, and in the prosecution team conducting the trial? This is totally unprecedented, even in Malaysia, for that matter. So that is it.

        Comment by anak sarawak — January 25, 2014 @ 9:29 AM | Reply

        • Anak Sarawak, do you know they destroyed and changed the initial statement made by corporal Sirul because certain personalities were implicated in the first statement? Do you know that the corporal was also found in possession of Altantuya’s belongings and his own belongings tainted with Altantuya’s blood? All these are strong evidences that only a kangaroo court can do without!

          Comment by Sharpshooter — January 25, 2014 @ 5:21 PM | Reply

          • Sharpshooter, you are right there as regards that ‘even the kangaroo court can do without’. However you must agree with me that things like “kangaroo court” could happen in Malaysia is little matter to wonder about.

            If going by the affidavits by Razak Baginda in which inter alia he claimed that Altantuya was his lover, and that he was angry with her over her incessant demand to be paid money for her previous services (understand it is the USD500K for her role in the purchase by Malaysia of 2 submarines from France), I would say there is a lot of motive implicated there. His defence should have been called but was not: he was set free at the close of the prosecution case.

            It does seem that ‘manufactured’ evidences like those you mentioned can be accepted instead but not so for ‘independent evidence’ such as the affidavit evidences as mentioned hereinabove. This is Malaysia, our Nation, of course. Although we still have rooms to correct these type of ‘enforced? errors?, I suppose.

            Comment by anak sarawak — January 29, 2014 @ 7:42 AM

  4. The soul of Althantuya is already safe in the Garden of Eden. The killer is still roaming on earth. He may not be caught but will be known eventually.

    Comment by pandelela — January 23, 2014 @ 8:12 AM | Reply

  5. This was planned from the beginning involving the PM department, AG office and highest ranking officer in PDRM.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — January 23, 2014 @ 7:59 AM | Reply

    • We will never know the truth so long as BN is till teh government.
      Too many cases thst are covered up eg. PKFZ scandal is another one.

      Comment by Diman — January 23, 2014 @ 10:41 AM | Reply


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