Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Altantuya trial: Prosecution wraps up its case

SHAH ALAM: After 124 days, the prosecution finally wrapped up its case in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial.

Lead prosecutor DPP Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah closed the case on Monday at the conclusion of the third and final trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissibility of a portion of evidence given by a police officer.

In doing so, the prosecutor also informed Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin that the prosecution was offering a total of 144 witnesses to the defence.

In the high profile case, Unit Tindakan Khas (UTK) operatives C/Insp Azilah Hadri and Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar are charged with murdering the 28-year-old Mongolian translator between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 two years ago in Mukim Bukit Raja, here.

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda is accused of abetting them in Kuala Lumpur between 9.54am on Oct 18 and 9.45pm on Oct 19 the same year.

Justice Mohd Zaki said he would begin hearing submissions from all parties on July 23 and would continue hearing the arguments until the end.

Both the prosecution and the defence will submit on five matters:

* The admissibility of part of Asst Supt Zulkarnain Samsudin's testimony alleging that Kpl Sirul Azhar had led police to recover Altantuya's jewellery from his Kota Damansara flat and had pointed at them there.

* The admissibility of part of the testimony given by C/Insp Koh Fei Cheow, who claimed he obtained information from C/Insp Azilah that led police to the crime scene in Puncak Alam.

* The impeachment proceeding against star witness L/Kpl Rohaniza Roslan, C/Insp Azilah's old flame, over contradictions between her testimony and the statement she gave police after she was detained for investigations.

* The impeachment proceeding against UTK Deputy Supt Mohd Yusri Hasan Basri over his testimony which contradicted his police statement.

* The main trial itself.

After hearing the submissions, Justice Mohd Zaki will then decide whether or not to order C/Insp Azilah, 32, Kpl Sirul Azhar, 37, and Abdul Razak, 48, to enter their defence.

The case, one of the most talked about in recent years, first captured the public's attention in early November 2006, when the press reported the gruesome killing in which the deceased's body was blown up using explosives.

Subsequently, the UTK operatives were charged with the murder on Nov 15, 2006 while the political analyst, who later admitted to have had an affair with the deceased, was charged a day later with abetment.

The deceased's father Dr Shaariibuu Setev was present in court on Monday.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/6/23/nation/20080623191024&sec=nation

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