Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bar Council: AGC has enough proof to reopen Altantuya murder file

Bar Council: AGC has enough proof to reopen Altantuya murder file

By Debra Chong,
Assistant News Editor
March 30, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30  The recent public testimonies by Deepak Jaikishan, P. Balasubramaniam and the dead private detective’s lawyer Americk Sidhu are strong enough grounds for the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to reopen the controversial 2006 murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Malaysian Bar’s new president said today.

Christopher Leong, who took office earlier this month, told the public prosecutors they should not defer further investigating the case that have thrown two former elite policemen on death row.

“The revelations by Deepak Jaikishan, the late Balasubramaniam Perumal, and Americk Singh Sidhu raise sufficient concern to warrant further investigations by the authorities.

“Such further investigations may or may not lead to anything new, but we would only know if additional investigations are in fact undertaken,” he said in a statement today.

Leong was responding to Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail’s March 26 reply to the Bar Council’s initial call, in which the Attorney-General was reported saying his department could only reopen the case if there was new evidence for fear of setting a bad precedent.

The lawyer noted that the recent revelations by the trio, particularly carpet dealer Deepak who was central to arranging for Balasubramaniam to recant his first sworn statement, were new evidence that may provide the crucial motive to the Mongolian interpreter’s killing.

He said that motive, which refers to the reason for a person to commit a crime, had not been satisfactorily dealt with when the case was tried at the High Court in 2007, as the law did not actually require it, unlike “mens rea”, the intent to commit crime and an essential element in convicting murder suspects.
“However, motive may be important in cases where there is doubt as to the ‘mens rea’, or where there are questions as to whether there may be more people connected with or involved in the crime, and the nature or extent of such connection or involvement,” he said.

Leong reminded that the High Court had found the two former policemen guilty of having intended to kill Altantuya and did in fact kill her, but acquitted a third man, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda who once had an affair with the Mongolian woman and was accused of having abetted former Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and ex-Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar.

The Court of Appeal will hear the two ex-policemen’s appeal in June.

Balasubramaniam or “PI Bala” accused several top federal government personalities of being involved in Altantuya’s death in his first statutory declaration (SD) in 2008, two years after the brutal killing of the 28-year-old woman.

But he retracted the SD the following day and signed a new one omitting the names of these personalities, which had been arranged by Deepak, a businessman with close government links.

Deepak has admitted that he helped to get Balasubramaniam to repudiate his first SD, including finding two lawyers to draft the new statement.

Balasubramaniam died of a heart attack earlier this month, weeks after returning home from self-exile.
Balasubramaniam’s lawyer, Americk, has also told the Malaysian Bar and reporters that a fellow lawyer, the prominent Tan Sri Cecil Abraham had admitted to him that he was the one who drew up the private investigator’s second SD.

The Bar Council has said they will file a complaint of professional misconduct against Abraham with the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board (ASDB).

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