Cradle Fund CEO murder: Lawyer says widow open to house arrest in return for bail

Shafee asserted that Samirah was not a flight risk. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Shafee asserted that Samirah was not a flight risk. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, April 26 ― Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said his client, the widow charged with murdering late husband Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle Fund) CEO Nazrin Hassan, would accept home confinement if she is granted bail.

The prominent lawyer told the Court of Appeal today 44-year-old Samirah Muzaffar would also accept the most stringent of restrictions so long as she is allowed to be with her four children aged two to 17.

“She is willing to take strict conditions, even if she has to be in her apartment 24-hours, just so that she can take care of her children,” he said.

“My client is a mother of four, her youngest is two-years-old, and her eldest child has to sit for an examination, SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia), in November,” he told Datuk Kamaruddin Hashim who headed the three-judge bench with Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.

On March 12, Samirah, a former senior executive at Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO); two teenagers aged 14 and 17; and Indonesian national Eka Wahyu Lestari, who is still at large, were charged with the murder of Nazrin, 47, at a house in Mutiara Homes, Shah Alam between 11.30pm on June 13, 2018, and 4am on June 14, 2018.

The charge under Section 302 of the Penal Code and read together with Section 34 of the same code provides for the mandatory death sentence upon conviction and is an unbailable offence.

However, last month the Shah Alam High Court had allowed bail for the two teenagers, with the amount set at RM50,000 each with two sureties.

Samirah’s similar appeal for bail was dismissed by the same court, however, which cited the danger and high probability the accused would abscond, and the probability of witness tampering.

Today's proceedings were part of Samirah’s appeal against the High Court’s decision to strike out her bid to be granted bail.

Shafee today pointed out the inconsistencies displayed by the Shah Alam High Court in granting bail for the two others who were accused in the same case, saying it made no sense considering they would all be in the same court trial.  

“For the two children, the learned judge was able to balance out their bail with strict restrictions.

“We are raising similar points, where there is no evidence to say she can be a culprit of witness tampering,” he said.

Shafee asserted that Samirah was not a flight risk considering she was on police bail for two months following her remand and had not absconded during that period leading up to her arrest and subsequent charging.

He also raised doubts over details provided in reports provided by the police and the Fire and Rescue Department, and the manner investigations were carried out, saying the agency’s should ‘get their act together’.

This was after he noted how investigators from the fire department had surrendered the crime scene back to the house owners on the day of the incident, but returned three more times and carried out more checks despite risks of evidence tampering or being cleaned.

Shafee also argued how the motive for murder must still be proven against his client, and defended her by insisting the entire incident was an accident.

He also highlighted how she was independent and financially sound on her own, ruling out the possible motive of her looking to benefit from payouts from insurance premiums or gaining funds from his Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) triggered by her husband’s death.

“Her written affidavit is important to prove her innocence and the prosecution gave no reply to this.

“She is more stable financially than Nazrin, she was a working woman, a lawyer, and supported all four children,” he said as he read out excerpts from the affidavit.

“If she is money minded, his (Nazrin) EPF beneficiary is still his ex-wife, she would have asked him to change it to her (Samirah),” he added.

Meanwhile, the prosecution team, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Jamil Aripin, argued the Appellate Court should not interfere in the decisions pertaining to bail by the lower courts.

He said lower courts deciding on matters pertaining to bail was them exercising their discretion of the court, and should not be interfered by other courts.

He also pointed out there were no special circumstances in Samirah’s case to warrant her being granted bail.

He again highlighted the possibility of witness tampering by the accused should she be released on bail, and citing the nature of the offence she was accused of.

Proceedings ended at lunchtime, as Judge Kamaruddin set May 10 as the next hearing date for the complete submission by the prosecuting team.

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