Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MALAYSIAKINI: April: The tale of two hills and the duo

Tale of two hills; Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau will be made known in April and so will the fate of UTK duo.

Altantuya murder case:
UTK duo to know their fate on April 9

Police special action squad (UTK) personnel Chief Insp Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar who are charged with murdering Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibu, will know their fate on April 9.

High court judge Mohd Zaki Md Yasin fixed the date to deliver his decision at the end of defence case, after hearing submissions from both prosecution and defence teams.

(The defence team made their submission on Monday while prosecution submitted on Tuesday)

DPP Manoj Kurup today submitted that the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the two accused, warranting a conviction on the murder charge of murder, in pursuance of a common intention.

"The several strands of circumstantial evidence that the prosecution has painstakingly proved have remained unrebutted, unexplained and unanswered by both accused 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," he added.

"The two sets of defence (one by each of the accused) has not only failed to raise any reasonable doubts on the prosecution’s case with respect to the guilt of each accused, (but) it is clear that each accused is trying to blame the other for the murder," said Manoj.

"What is proven beyond peradventure is that both accused took the victim away that fateful night of Oct 19. Now they turn against each other. The fact remains: the victim was never seen alive after that," said Manoj, adding that the two accused made bare denials.

"Azilah submitted a defence of alibi before the trial. (But) Azilah did not dare to call his so-called alibi witnesses and Sirul did not dare to testify under oath," he said.

"Azilah's evidence, for want of a better word, was bare denial at its sublime best," he said, adding taht Azilah claimed that he was not the last person to be with Altantuya on the night of Oct 19.

"In fact, Azilah claimed it was Sirul, who was with Altantuya leaving Bukit Aman on the fateful night, " said Manoj who also submitted that the call logs (telephone communications) showed the movement of Azilah on the night of incident.

He said it showed a logical progression towards the crime scene and back, as was the prosecution’s case all along, and nothing said by Azilah in his defence had cast any doubt on that position.

"What we have is nothing but bare denials of the movements by Azilah from Bukit Aman onwards on the night of Oct 19," said Manoj, adding that the call logs negate not just any probable, but any possible alibi of Azilah.

"Where is the alibi defence of Azilah?," asked Manoj.

"By failing to call alibi witnesses, Azilah lost the chance of casting a reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s case," he added.

Manoj submitted that Azilah's testimony under oath was "littered with inconsistencies, discrepancies and improbabilities" that only one inference is possible from it, that is, "Azilah is spinning a yarn."

He submitted that the finding of Altantuya's jewellery and watch, the presence of the deceased’s DNA on the inside of Sirul’s jacket and the finding of bloodstains on the slippers taken together completely, demolishes Sirul’s statement that he had nothing to do with the murder of the deceased.

He said Sirul had no rational explanation as to how he knew the jewellery and the watch were in his jacket, hanging in the wardrobe of his house.

"He had no rational explanation as to how these items got there in the first place. All he had was the convenient ‘police frame-up’ excuse."

"It is respectfully submitted that not only was there not an iota of evidence suggesting a frame-up, there was also absolutely no reason shown as why the police would want to do something so despicable to one of their own kind," said Manoj, adding that "the defence of the two accused persons, begs questions, but answers none."

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda had been charged for abetting Azilah and Sirul, but was earlier acquitted by the court. [Altantuya murder case: UTK duo to know their fate on April 9
The Sun Daily ]

By elections: 7th April 2009

The by-elections for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat and Bukit Selambau state seat will be held simultaneously, with nominations held on March 29 and polling on April 7. [By-elections: Nomination on March 29, polling April 7
Malaysia Star, Malaysia]