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Court finds duo guilty, arrest warrant for Sirul

Hafiz Yatim & Kow Gah Chie  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LIVE REPORTS

10.20am: Kamarul Hisham, the lawyer who represents Sirul, confirms that he has lost contact with his client for six months.

"The last time I was contacted by my client was probably a week after the hearing in the Federal Court (from June 23 to June 25, 2014), after that (I couldn't) contact (Sirul)," he says.

"I have absolutely no idea where he is.

"From the last contact I had with him, I have absolutely no basis to say he acted strangely; I have reason to believe he will turn up for today's (verdict)," he adds.

He would also rather not use the stronger worded "disappeared" to describe the current situation with Sirul, but instead explained that Sirul is not around because he failed to receive notice to be present in court.

10.15am: In an immediate reaction, prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid says: "There is nothing much to say except we are glad it is over and our hard work has paid off."

10.02am: Azilah is seen discussing with his lawyers, Hazman Ahmad and J Kuldeep Kumar.

He hugs lawyer Kamarul Hisham ( right ) before being led by the police to prison through the side entrance of the courtroom.

10.01am: Azilah, wearing a dark suit, is spotted shaking hands with Tun Abdul Majid, who had been on his way out after the decision.

He also hugged his lawyers, who look visibly saddened by the outcome and offered him comforting words, before Azilah is led by police out from the court a few minutes later.

While Azilah mostly shown his back to the public gallery, only can see noticed he looked expressionless from at one or two glimpse.

10am: Prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid says the court will issue an arrest warrant for Sirul.

Azilah appeared tense throughout the 30 minutes when the verdict was being read.

9.56am: Justice Suriyadi says the respondents had failed to cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case.

"The prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond reasonable doubt. The court orders the Court of Appeal ruling be set aside and restore the death sentence," he says in allowing the prosecution's appeal.

Azilah looks expressionless on hearing the verdict. Tun Majid asks for a warrant of arrest to be issued for Sirul.

Justice Arifin agrees to issue warrant of arrest.

9.52am: Justice Suriyadi says Azilah did not deny his presence at Hotel Malaya - the hotel where victim Altantuya Shaariibuu stayed.

He says Azilah's girlfriend was the last to see Altantuya alive when she left them (Azilah, Sirul and Altantuya).

"There is irresistible conclusion that Sirul retrieved the jewellery from Altantuya. Whether he took it prior to the killing or after is irrelevant."

"The first respondent (Azilah) was with the second respondent (Sirul) in Puncak Alam. They must have been there and also managed to pinpoint the scene of the crime," he says.

We are satisfied the prosecution has managed to prove common intention.

"The defence of alibi is unsustainable," declares the judge.

9.48am: Justice Suriyadi says there is not much detail which DSP Musa Safri, then aide of deputy prime minister Najib Razak, could produce.

"We observe Musa never instructed the first respondent (Azilah) how to assist Abdul Razak. The non-calling of Musa has not caused unfairness to the defendant," he rules.

9.45am: Justice Suriyadi now refers to the jewellery found in Sirul's house.

He says Sirul led ASP Zulkarnain to his house and used the key to open the padlock.

"While taking the said jacket, the accused said he kept the jewellery in the jacket.

"A pair of earrings (and) a watch was retrieved. When the police officer asked whether these were the items seized (from the deceased), Sirul admitted they were," he says.

9.43am: Justice Suriyadi reads out the police officers' evidence about Azilah leading them to the scene of the crime.

"We are satisfied the police did not know the scene of the crime. They went separately and independently.

"The second respondent (Sirul) had agreed to show the scene and the second respondent had led the police to the same scene," he says.

The accused are police officers of an elite unit, and they could not be easily intimidated when being interrogated, says the judge.

9.40am: Justice Suriyadi rules the calls are admissible and Azilah's defence as a mere denial.

9.35am: Justice Suriyadi says there are calls made by Azilah from Kampung Subang as well as Puncak Alam.

The judge scrutinises the phone calls further. He says the calls made at 11.16pm on Oct 19 at Puncak Alam, affirmatively confirmed the prosecution's case.

"From the analysis of information, none of the calls made were from Wangsa Maju or Bukit Aman at that time (Azilah's alibi).

"The respondent (Azilah) could not be at any places other than Puncak Alam."

9.33am: Justice Suriyadi says although the notice of alibi is made, it is not sufficient until the prosecution has successfully produced a prima facie case.

"Azilah says he was not at Puncak Alam."

There is a record that Azilah retrieved a Glock pistol from Bukit Aman. He says only the maker of the entry (in the police armoury) can verify this.

Now he goes on Azilah's phone data.

9.30am: Justice Suriyadi notes Abdul Razak was acquitted but the two accused were convicted of murder.

However, they were later acquitted by the Court of Appeal.

He then spells out the alleged errors mentioned by the three-member Court of Appeal panel.

9.25am: Delivering the verdict, Justice Suriyadi reads the background of the case, saying that Abdul Razak Baginda was charged with abetment.

He says Azilah had sent a notice of alibi.

"This piece of evidence was produced at the prosecution's stage and the station diary was also produced. The entry to the station diary was marked."

9.22am: Despite Sirul's absence, Justice Suriyadi begins reading his 88-page judgment on behalf of the five-member Federal Court panel. He says he will read only the relevant parts.

9.20am : Azilah walks to the front the dock.

Prosecutor Tun Majid informs the judges that the court notice to Sirul could not be served to the second accused.

9:19am: Court buzzer sounds. The five-member Federal Court panel headed by chief justice Arifin Zakaria walks into the courtroom.

This is the panel hearing the prosecution's appeal. Still no sign of Sirul.

9.15am: Sirul's lawyers are looking around the courtroom trying to find their client. However, there is no sign of the second accused.

9.04am: Head of the prosecution team, deputy solicitor-general I Tun Abdul Majib Tun Hamzah is also in court.

Some reporters who arrived late are standing in the public gallery as the courtroom is already full.

8.58am: One of Sirul's three lawyers, Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, enters the courtroom. The public gallery is already filled to the brim.

 

There is still no sign of Sirul's family members or the accused.

8.55am: Some 20 journalists and photographers are waiting outside the courtroom, hoping to get pictures of the two accused, whose faces have been carefully concealed since day one of the murder trial.

Lawyers J Kuldeep Kumar, Hasman Ahmad and DPP Manoj Kurop are seen having a chat outside the courtroom, near a side staircase.

8.50am: One of the two accused, Azilah Hadri, enters the courtroom from the side court entrance wearing a black jacket, white long sleeve shirt and a blue tie.

There is no sign of the other accused, Sirul Azhar Umar, yet.

8.45am: Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, who is lawyer for second accused Sirul Azhar Umar, walks into the courtroom.

The public gallery is filled with journalists but there is no sign of family members of the accused.

8.38am: Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) P Manoj Kurup and lawyer J Kuldeep Kumar for Azilah have just arrived.

A group of journalists for the foreign media is in court to cover the decision.

8:20am: Azilah Hadri's lawyer Hazman Ahmad enters the court room. No sign of the accused yet.

8.15am: The verdict will be delivered at Federal Court 1. It is understood besides the Altantuya Shaariibuu decision, there is another decision to be delivered by the apex court bench on a civil matter.

7.45am: A five-member bench will today deliver its verdict on two members of the police Special Action Unit (UTK) members, chief inspector Azilah Hadri and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, charged with the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu.

                                   

The panel headed by Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria, will deliver its verdict on whether to allow the prosecution's appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision in August 2013 to acquit the two.

 

Sitting with the country's top judicial officer on the bench are Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Richard Malanjum, and Federal Court judges Abdull Hamid Embong, Ahmad Maarop and Suriyadi Halim Omar.

 

Azilah and Sirul were jointly charged with murdering the Mongolian translator between 10pm on Oct 19, and 1am on Oct 20, 2006 at a jungle clearing in Puncak Alam near Shah Alam.

 

A military-grade C4 explosive was used to kill Altantuya ( right ), where evidence showed she was shot first and her remains blasted.

 

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who admitted having an affair with Altantuya, was also charged at the Kuala Lumpur High Court with abetting to murder Altantuya.

 

However, the former close confidante to then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was acquitted without his defence called.

 

The two UTK officers were found guilty of murdering the Mongolian by Shah Alam High Court judge Justice Mohd Zaki Yasin, who subsequently handed down the mandatory death sentence.

 

However, on appeal, the three-member appellate court acquitted the two based on several misdirection by the High Court judge, which were listed by Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat in an unanimous decision.

Both accused were members of the security detail of then deputy prime minister Najib, and the appellate court said among the material witnesses not called to testify included Najib's aide de camp DSP Musa Safri .

 

However, this controversial murder case may not end as Altantuya's father, Shaariibuu Setev ( left ), has also filed a civil suit against the Malaysian government.

 

The prosecution is headed by deputy solicitor-general I Tun Abdul Majib Tun Hamzah and DPP Manoj Kurup, who is head of the Appeals and Trials division of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

 

Lawyers Hazman Ahmad and J Kuldeep Kumar appear for Azilah while Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, Hasnal Rezua Merican and Ahmad Zaidi Zainal are representing Sirul.

 

Malaysiakini is covering the verdict live.

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