Delegatus non potest delegare 1: Altantuya, the charges

Americk Sidhu

Modified 29 Dec 2019, 8:20 am

COMMENT | (For the uninitiated, the Latin words used in the title to these articles address hindsight, in that one ought not attend to matters as serious as this with the help of anyone else.

‘Delegatus Non Potest Delegare”. Put simply, if you have the power to do something yourself, don’t ever get someone else to do it for you. This is where the problems start.)

Just over a week ago, Malaysia was exposed to yet another scandal when Azilah Hadri, in a lengthy and detailed statutory declaration, revealed that he had been ordered to kill Altantuya. This order, he says, came directly from the then deputy prime minister, Najib Razak in October 2006.

The purpose of Azilah’s SD was to support a motion, filed by his lawyers in the Federal Court, for a review of his conviction for murdering Altantuya. He basically says it is unfair for him to take the rap because he was only acting under orders and so his conviction ought to be scrutinized in light of these revelations and a new trial ordered.

Whether he succeeds or not is another matter entirely. From a legal perspective, it doesn’t look good for Azilah for the simple reason he has confessed, on oath, that both he and Sirul Azhar Umar murdered Altantuya. This is what they were convicted and sentenced to death for by the highest Court in the land. If there was any doubt in those convictions, they have now been put to rest.

However, this does not prevent the police from re-opening investigations into the murder based on the fresh allegations made by Azilah. The police are not required to re-investigate the original matter. This has already been done. Based on those initial investigations, charges were laid against Azilah, Sirul and Razak Baginda and dealt with by the Courts. There is a subtle distinction here which has to be appreciated. This is a new case...

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