Cradle Fund CEO murder trial: First responders accused of not following SOP, crime scene compromised

Accused Samirah Muzaffar is seen leaving the Shah Alam High Court November 29, 2019. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Accused Samirah Muzaffar is seen leaving the Shah Alam High Court November 29, 2019. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

SHAH ALAM, Nov 29 — Lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah during the murder trial of Cradle Fund chief operating officer Nazrin Hassan today suggested that the first responders had failed to follow protocol which led to the crime scene being compromised.

Shafee accused 13th prosecution witness Fireman Tanhoss Bah Agem, 29, from the Damansara Fire and Rescue station who was the acting supervisor (operations) on the day of the incident of not performing his duties according to standard operating procedures.

Shafee is representing Nazrin’s widow Samirah Muzaffar, who is charged with murdering her husband in 2018.

Shafee questioned Tanhoss on what took place from the time he reached the crime scene, how long it took the fires to be put out and what happened thereafter.

Tanhoss said he was the person in charge of guarding the crime scene until the forensics team reached.

He told the court that he had taken several pictures of the room, bed, body, and others for him to file his reports later on.

Tanhoss said he did not place the “do not cross” tape outside the room but around the house gates to prevent anyone from entering the property except the authorities.

However, Shafee had pointed out that many pictures had been published in mainstream media showing the crime scene, while some even had the pictures of the deceased.

Shafee questioned Tanhoss how these pictures had been obtained by outsiders.

Shafee: Mr Tanhoss how did this happen where the media managed to obtain pictures of the crime scene? This is a murder case and it seems there was no control of the crime scene and the crime scene is contaminated.

Tanhoss: True, there seems to be others who have entered the room and taken pictures. I did not see who did it or who took those pictures.

Shaffee: So was it the fire and rescue personnel who snapped these pictures?

Tanhoss: No.

Shaffee: So most likely there were others who went into the crime scene. As you can see not just one picture was taken. Malay papers, Chinese papers all have it. Only Tamil papers didn’t. In fact, there may have been videos taken as well. Agree?

Tanhoss: Yes.

Tanhoss tried to explain that until the forensics team came, he was guarding the room from the staircase of the house and besides the authorities (police and fire and rescue) only Samirah went into the room. He said he relinquished his post once the forensics team arrived,

Tanhoss told the Court that there were five fire and rescue personnel, three policemen and three from the forensics team. Shaffee suggested that with 11 people in the room was there a possibility they had compromised the crime scene to which Tanhoss agreed.

Shafee also asked Tanhoss about one of Samirah’s kids who had allegedly entered the room at one point. He asked Tanhoss who allowed him to be up there and when, but Tanhoss could not provide a timeline.

Tanhoss said he did not know the boy had gone upstairs into the crime scene. He however said the boy had probably gone upstairs when the forensics team was there which was around 3pm.

Shafee: How is it that three officers including you could allow a kid to enter into the crime scene to take something?

Tanhoss: When he entered there was only one forensic officer there.

Shafee: So there was one forensic officer and did he have an assistant?

Tanhoss: No.

Shafee: But you were there?

Tanhoss: Yes.

Shafee: So there’s two of you. So tell me Mr Tanhoss, how could this boy could go upstairs, walk past the dead body of his stepdad to apparently retrieve a phone?

Tanhoss: I can’t say for sure the time.

Shafee: So if I say this is a breach of protocol to prevent the crime scene from contamination or being compromised this is true?

Tanhoss: Yes, this is true.

Shafee: So there has been a breach of protocol?

Tanhoss: Yes, there was sir.

On March 12, Samirah, 44, a former senior executive at the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO), and two teenagers, aged 17 and 14, were charged, along with Indonesian citizen, Eka Wahyu Lestari, who is still at large, with Nazrin’s murder.

They are alleged to have committed the offence at a house in Mutiara Homes, Mutiara Damansara, between 11.30pm on June 13, 2018, and 4am on June 14, 2018.

They are charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code read together with Section 34 of the same Act.

The hearing continues on Monday.

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