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9 April D-day in Altantuya murder case (Updated)

(Updated 7.11pm)

SHAH ALAM, 17 Feb 2009: The fate of two Special Action Force (UTK) police officers accused of murdering Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu will be known on 9 April.

Shah Alam High Court judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin set the date after hearing submissions from all the parties at the end of the defence’s case yesterday and today.

C/Insp Azilah Hadri, 33, and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, 37, were called to enter their defence last 31 Oct. Azilah testified in his defence from the witness stand while Sirul Azhar read out his written testimony from the dock.

No other defence witnesses were called.

Azilah and Sirul Azhar are charged with murdering Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28, between Lot 12843 and Lot 16735 Mukim Bukit Raja near here between 10pm on 19 Oct and 1am on 20 Oct 2006.

Before this, they were tried together with Malaysian Strategic Research Centre executive director, Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 48, who was charged with abetment.

However, on 31 Oct 2008, the political analyst was acquitted and discharged without his defence being called after the prosecution failed to make out a prima facie case against him.

In his submission, Deputy Public Prosecutor Manoj Kurup had submitted that Azilah could not prove his alibi that he was not at the murder scene on the night in question.

He said Azilah also did not call a single witness to corroborate his alibi.

“All we have is the ipse dixit of the first accused that he was at Wangsa Maju (in Kuala Lumpur). The notice of alibi mandated under Section 402A of the Criminal Procedure Code mentions persons acquainted with the fact of alibi. Yet, for reasons best known to the first accused, he chose not to call as witnesses the persons named in P430 (Azilah’s girlfriend, Nur Azila Baharuddin).

“Failure to call any witness or adduce evidence should not be made the subject of an adverse comment, and it must be emphasised that the prosecution is not doing that.

“What we are submitting is simply this, by failing to call his alibi witness, the first accused lost the chance of casting a reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s case,” he said.

Manoj also submitted that the testimony on oath of Azilah’s is littered with inconsistencies, discrepancies and improbabilities, so much so, that only one inference is possible from it, the 1st accused is spinning a yarn.

At the end of his submission, Manoj said the several strands of circumstantial evidence that the prosecution had painstakingly proved had remained unrebutted, unexplained and unanswered by both accused persons in this case. 

“The combined strength of those strands of evidence when twisted together has formed two ropes, strong enough to hang each accused person. It is respectfully submitted that no reasonable doubt is cast on the prosecution’s case by either accused.

“The prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the two accused, warranting a conviction on the charge of murder committed in pursuance to a common intention of them both,” he said. — Bernama



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