Altantuya case: Hearing for appeal against cops' acquittal set in June

File photo of ex-policemen Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar (heads covered). File photo of ex-policemen Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar (heads covered). The Federal Court will hear the prosecution’s appeal against their acquittal on a charge of murdering Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu in June. — Reuters pic — Reuters pic
File photo of ex-policemen Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar (heads covered). File photo of ex-policemen Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar (heads covered). The Federal Court will hear the prosecution’s appeal against their acquittal on a charge of murdering Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu in June. — Reuters pic — Reuters pic

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 27 — The prosecution’s appeal against the acquittal of two police special action unit personnel on a charge of murdering Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu has been fixed for hearing for three days, beginning June 23, at the Federal Court.

Deputy Registrar Izuddin Mohamad set the dates in chambers after the appeal came up before him for case management today.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Manoj Kurup told reporters that the hearing of the appeal was fixed from June 23 to June 25.

Lawyer J. Kuldeep Kumar, representing Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, and also mentioning the case on behalf of Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar’s lawyers Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin and Hasnal Rezua Merican, confirmed the hearing dates.

He said both prosecution and defence would have to file in their respective written submissions by May 23.

Earlier, Manoj and Kuldeep appeared before Izuddin in the case management proceeding.

On whether Azilah, 37, and Sirul Azhar, 42, would be present on the hearing dates, Kuldeep replied: “They will be there”.

The policemen were convicted and sentenced to death in 2009, by the Shah Alam High Court after being found guilty of murdering Altantuya, 28, at Mukim Bukit Raja in Shah Alam between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am, the following day in 2006.

The duo filed an appeal against the high court decision, and on Aug 23, last year were granted an acquittal by the Court of Appeal which overturned their conviction.

The Court of Appeal in its 47-page judgment had held that circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution was insufficient to sustain the finding of the duo’s guilt.

It said their guilt had not been satisfactorily proven, “thus, the court was constrained to give them the benefit of the doubt”.

The prosecution filed its petition of appeal on Jan 3, this year, listing six reasons why the three-member Court of Appeal bench was wrong in law and facts to allow the two policemen to escape the gallows.

Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 50, who was initially charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul Azhar, was acquitted by the High Court on Oct 31, 2008 after it (the high court) held that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against him.

The prosecution did not appeal this decision to the Court of Appeal. — Bernama