By Ida LimJune 23, 2014 UPDATED: June 25, 2014 09:46 am
File photo of Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar (heads covered) during one of their court appearances in 2009.
— Picture by Choo Choy May
PUTRAJAYA, June 23 — Theshould have accepted as evidence Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu’s jewellery that was found in the jacket of a former police commando accused of murdering her in 2006, the Federal Court heard today.
Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 37, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 42, are facing a three-day appeal over their acquittal that will decide if they remain free or return to facing the gallows.
Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah, the lead prosecutor in the appeal, argued that the jewellery found in Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar’s jacket atshould be considered despite some “contradictions” in its discovery.
“But the fact remains, (the) jewellery was found in his jacket. In the jacket, DNA was found,” he said, adding that the jewellery was removed from Altantuya before she was murdered.
He said the DNA belonged to Altantuya, but also acknowledged that the genetic evidence could be inconclusive.
Sirul had no “rational explanation” on how the jewellery came to be in the pockets of his jacket, he said.
Tun Abdul Majid also pointed to another piece of circumstantial evidence — the discovery of Altantuya’s DNA on a slipper in Sirul’s car — which he said should be accepted in court.
He argued against suggestions that the blood-stained slipper could have been planted in Sirul’s car, pointing out that no blood was found at thethat could have been used for such purposes.
Earlier, Tun Abdul Majid sought to dispute Azilah’s alibi, in which thehad claimed he was not near the crime scene and was at Bukit Aman and Wangsa Maju instead.
Tun Abdul Majid argued that the station diary that was relied upon by Azilah for his alibi was “hearsay” evidence that was inadmissible, noting that the officer who had entered the data was not called to testify in court.
He also referred to call logs of Azilah’sphone, which he said proved that the police officer could not have been near the places he claimed to be in his alibi, at the time of the murder.
These call logs were not tampered with, as the records were computer-generated and only had technical errors that were rectified by telecommunications company Celcom’s officers, he said.
The Court of Appeal should also have accepted these call logs as evidence, he said.
The three-day appeal hearing before a five-manbench headed by Chief Justice of Malaysia Tun Arifin Zakaria is set to run until Wednesday.
The four other judges on the panel are Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong, Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop.
The defence team for Azilah and Sirul are headed by Datuk Hazman Ahmad and Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin respectively.
Last August 23, the Court of Appeal acquitted Azilah and Sirul, ruling that thetrial judge’s misdirection had rendered the 2009 death sentence and conviction unsafe.
Azilah and Sirul, both formerly with the police’s Special Action Unit (UTK), were found guilty in 2009 of murdering Altantuya in Mukim Bukit Raja in Klang between 10pm on October 19, 2006 and 1am on October 20, 2006.
During the course of their trial, it was revealed that the Mongolian model was shot and her body blown up with explosives in a jungle clearing on the night of October 19.
Abdul Razak Baginda was charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul in the murder but was acquitted on October 31, 2008, after the Shah Alam High Court ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against him.
The prosecution did not appeal against the 2008 acquittal of Abdul Razak.