Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Direct proof unnecessary to hang ex-cops for Altantuya murder, Federal Court says



PUBLISHED: JANUARY 27, 2015 02:19 PM
File photo of ex-policemen Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar (heads covered) in 2013. According to the Australian Immigration and Border Protection Department, Sirul is still under detention in the country. — File pic

File photo of ex-policemen Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar (heads covered) in 2013. According to the Australian Immigration and Border Protection Department, Sirul is still under detention in the country. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 Circumstantial evidence had sufficed when sending two former police commandos to the gallows for killing Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Federal Court said in its recent decision to reverse the acquittal of the two men over the high-profile 2006 murder.
In the full 88-page judgment released recently, Justice Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar said the need to establish direct evidence was unnecessary in every criminal case as “common intention” may be adduced from the facts and circumstances of the case, as well as the conduct of the two accused  former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar and former chief Inspector Azilah Hadri.
“Crimes are usually committed in secret and under condition where concealment is highly probable.
“If direct evidence is insisted under all circumstances, a successful prosecution of vicious criminals, who have committed heinous crimes in secret or secluded places, would be near impossible,” Suriyadi was quoted as saying in the judgment.
“In this case not only was the heinous crime committed at a secluded place but the deceaseds body was blasted beyond recognition. Only fragments of bones were found,” he added.
In its judgment, the Federal Court also ruled out the need to call for the testimony of former aide to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Naib Razak deputy superintendent Musa Safri, saying it would not have any consequence to the case.
Suriyadi said there was nothing in Musa's testimony that could have helped Sirul and Azilah’s defence, despite their lawyers arguing otherwise.
Defence lawyers for the accused have alleged that Musa's testimony, if allowed, could have provided details regarding Abdul Razak Baginda's sworn affidavit.
Abdul Razak, a former aide to Najib, was initially charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul but was acquitted on October 31, 2008, after the Shah Alam High Court ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against him.
“It is only useful to Abdul Razak. It merely confirmed evidence adduced from Altantuya Shaariibuu's cousin and friend that he had had a relationship with the deceased.
“We are therefore unable to see how much more details DSP Musa could produce that would contribute to the respondents' defence. The calling of DSP Musa (left) let alone the tendering of the text messages would not have affected the evidence pertaining to Abdul Razak's relationship one tiny bit,” the judgment read.
Both Sirul and Azilah were charged with the murder of 28-year-old Altantuya in 2006 and convicted in 2009.
They were freed after the appellate court acquitted them in 2013, but last week, the Federal Court reversed the acquittal and sent them back to hang, marking the end to the eight-year saga.
Sirul was a no-show during the Federal Court hearing, however, and it was later revealed that he is in Australia and was unable to return due to a lack of funds.
Malaysian police have put a formal request in for Sirul’s deportation to Malaysia but Australia’s extradition legislation prohibits an individual from being sent back to another country for an offence punishable by death, unless that country pledges not to carry out a death sentence.
According to the Australian Immigration and Border Protection Department, Sirul is still under detention in the country.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/direct-proof-unnecessary-to-hang-ex-cops-for-altantuya-murder-federal-court#sthash.WM5Gbq08.dpuf

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