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Ex-deputy minister’s son and two others freed of murder

KUALA LUMPUR, 5 Nov 2008: A former deputy minister’s son and two others were acquitted and discharged by the High Court here today of a charge of murdering a doctor five years ago.

Justice Datuk Mohamed Apandi Ali, in acquitting college student Nor Adzlan Idris, 25, Lee Jun Jo, 27, and Choy Chin Chuan, 25, both unemployed, without calling for their defence, ruled that the prosecution had failed to make out a prima facie case against them.

They were charged with murdering Dr T Ariaratnam, 66, at the Arinaga Medical Centre in Bangsar Park here between 3.30am and 4am on 21 April 2003.

Nor Adzlan is a son of Tan Sri Idris Abdul Rauf, the former deputy federal territories minister and former MP for Parit Buntar.

Mohamed Apandi said the prosecution, which had called 21 witnesses including Kuala Lumpur Hospital forensic consultant Dr Mohamed Shah Mahmud, had relied heavily on circumstantial evidence to prove its case.

“The burden is on the prosecution to assist the court in making irresistible conclusion that all of these youths had common intention in murdering Dr Ariaratnam,” he said.

He said he was not calling for their defence mainly due to several “gaping holes” in the prosecution’s case, especially the failure to call two Indian nationals who should have been critical witnesses.

He said the failure of the prosecution and the investigating officer in taking diligent steps to ensure the presence of the two clinic assistants, Vellaichamy Sockalinggam and Vasudevan Perumal, had further weakened their case.

Mohamed Apandi added that the prosecution had also failed to prove the common intention and pre-plan on the part of the accused to rob and kill the doctor.

Although there was evidence by two prosecution witnesses that the trio had discussed the robbery, it was not clear and there was an absence of proof of who among the three had caused the fatal slash wound on the doctor’s head, he said.

He said the court decided not to call the trio to enter their defence mainly to stop the defence from exposing further holes in the prosecution’s case.

Deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz later told reporters that he will refer the matter to the attorney-general’s office for further instruction.            

Counsel Gooi Soon Seng appeared for Lee, K Y Leong for Choy and Naran Singh for Nor Adzlan.

Lee, however, had to be sent back to the Sungai Buloh prison pending the outcome of another case in which he is charged with five others with causing the death of an inmate during a riot in 2006. — Bernama


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