04 June, 2007

Delay in murder trial

Politically charged trial of three accused murderers is delayed as prosecution team is suddenly changed

With the prosecution team abruptly changing hands Monday, a Malaysian High Court judge has granted a two-week postponement of the politically-charged trial of three defendants for the gruesome murder last October of a 28-year-old Mongolian beauty.

Adding to the confusion, Zulkifli Noordi, a defense attorney for one of the policemen charged in the case, quit, saying there were "serious attempts by third parties to interfere with the defence I proposed." He didn't elaborate, but said the interference would compromise his ability to act in the case.

Zulkifli Noordin, former counsel of Chief Insp Azilah Hadri, said there was serious interference by third parties in his preparation of the defence and trial which put him in a position of not being able to carry out his duty to defend his client to the best of his ability.

“In addition, there were serious attempts by third parties to interfere with the defence that I propose to establish on behalf of my client for the purpose of protecting and for the benefit of certain parties

“I strongly believe therefore that to continue to act further for my client in the conduct of this case would compromise my principle and position as an officer of the court with my main task to uphold truth and justice without fear and favour,” he said in a statement distributed to the local and foreign media, reported in Malaysiakini here.

Mongolian Model Altantuya Murder Case Postponed To June 18, Razak Denied Bail

SHAH ALAM, June 4 Jun (Bernama) -- The Mongolian model Altantuya murder case which started in the High Court here Monday was postponed to June 18 and is expected to last till August in view of the large number of prosecution witnesses.

Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yassin fixed the date after allowing a postponement sought by deputy public prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah who had just taken over the case.

He said the trial would continue if all the prosecution witnesses had not completed their testimonies by August.

The trial was previously fixed for four weeks starting Monday.

Mohd Zaki also rejected an application for bail by Wong Kian Kheong, counsel for political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, who is charged with abetting two policemen in committing the murder.

Tun Abdul Majid told the court at the start of the trial that he was assigned the case by the Attorney-General's Chambers yesterday and needed time to look through the statements of more than 100 witnesses.

He will be assisted by deputy public prosecutor Manoj Kurup. The case was previously handled by head of the Classified Cases Unit of the AG's Chambers Sallehuddin Saidin and deputy public prosecutor Noreen Badaruddin.

C/Insp Azilah Hadri, 30, and Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar, 35, are charged with murdering Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28, at Lots 12843 and 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja, Selangor, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 last year.

Abdul Razak, 46, is charged with abetting them at Bangunan Getah Asli in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, between 9.54am and 11.05am on Oct 18.

They face the death sentence if convicted.

The courthouse was packed with members of the public, the accused's family members, local and foreign media representatives and observers who wanted to follow the proceedings in the high-profile case.

In the meantime, Altantuya's family has filed an RM100mil civil suit against the Government of Malaysia as well as the three defendants.

Read also : Altantuya Murder: Stop Speculating, Let The Court Decide!

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