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Sirul’s lawyer says defence team is blind-sided

SHAH ALAM, 21 Jan 2009: The lawyer representing Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, the second accused in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial, told the judge today that the defence team is blind-sided.         

In his application for access to DSP Musa Safri’s cautioned statement recorded under Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code, counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin said the defence was hampered because they were not supplied with the cautioned statement.

He said Musa was an important witness to rebut Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda’s affidavit and the rebuttal evidence could only come from Musa but the prosecution did not call him to the stand as their witness.

“The prosecution will argue that we can interview DSP Musa but interviewing him is of no value if we do not know what he has said to the police. Thus, the defence is blind-sided,” he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Manoj Kurup objected to Kamarul’s application.

The cautioned statement was a privileged document, he said.

“We have offered the witness and he is freely available for interview. The defence argued that they are blind-sided because they do not have the document, but they can actually ask the witness whether he made the same statement to the police.

“Until now we do not know what interest the accused have with regard to that statement.

“The statement was in regard to the third accused (Razak). The second accused was in no way mentioned in the affidavit other than the third accused saying that he does not know the second accused,” he said.

After hearing the submissions from both sides, Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin said the court would decide tomorrow whether to order the prosecution to supply a copy of Musa’s cautioned statement to the defence.

Kamarul earlier said the document was needed to enable the defence to  prepare Sirul’s statement which he would give from the dock.

On Kamarul’s application for the record of text messages (SMS) obtained by the prosecution during their investigation but was not tendered in court, Manoj said: “As far as we are concerned, we have supplied them. What we have in evidence are the co-relation of logs. We have also tendered SMS records in respect of Rohaniza, Sirul, Azilah, DSP Musa and the victim.”

Hearing this, Kamarul dropped the application.

Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 32, and Sirul, 36, both are police’s Special Action Unit (UTK) operatives are accused of murdering Altantuya, 28, in Mukim Bukit Raja between 10pm on 19 Oct 2006 and 1am the following day.

On 31 Oct last year, the court acquitted Razak, 48, of abetting them in Kuala Lumpur between 9.54am on 18 Oct  2006 and 9.45pm the next day without calling him to enter defence. — Bernama


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