Trial-within-a-trial for Corporal Azhar’s Confession Admissibility

10 July 2007
Shah Alam

On the 15th day of the Altantuya murder trial, Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin will decide today on whether Corporal’s Sirul Azhar Umar’s confession to the murder can be admitted to the High Court as evidence.

Azhar presented five points against the admission via his lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin. In essence, they argued that the prosecution failed to prove that the confession was made voluntarily and that Azhar was arrested or held in custody in Pakistan before returning to Kuala Lumpur. Kamaruddin said Azhar was under stress and pressured into giving a confession, and that ACP Mastor Mohd Ariff did not have full knowledge of the case and thus, should not take statements from Azhar. However, since Mastor did interrogate him, Azhar should have written his statement down, signed on it or placed his thumbprint on it, and given a chance to read the statement and make corrections.

Sargent Jelima Tasiran and Corporal Zamri Abu Bakar, who accompanied Mastor and Azhar throughout the flights were not called to the stand as witnesses.

Deputy public prosecutor Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah argued that the confession was taken under section 24 of the Evidence Act 1950 and allowed for a person in authority to obtain such an admission from an accused. He said that Mastor only told Azhar what the federal CID deputy director 11 ( Administration) Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan told him before departure and Mastor did not force Azhar to reveal the truth.

Mastor also waited a few minutes for a response from Azhar before saying that the truth was already out and that there was nothing to hide, after which Azhar allegedly made the confession. When he was cross-examined, Mastor denied that he obtained the confession with threat, inducement and promise and this was not rebutted by the defence.

The DPP said Azhar complied with Mastor’s instructions without any question although he did not believe the reason given by him. Mastor had told him that Azhar’s ex-wife had lodged a police report against him and that he had to take him back to protect the good name of the force.

The Star Online – Confession decision today

The Star Online – DPP: Sirul’s confession was voluntarily obtained

The Star Online – Defence: Prosecution must prove it

New Straits Times – Altantuya murder trial: Sirul was ‘not forced to tell the truth’

New Straits Times – Altantuya murder trial: Defence: He was not only confused but also under pressure

New Straits Times – Altantuya murder trial: Decision today on whether confession is admissible

MCW – Accused Sirul Gives Contradicting Testimony in Altantuya Trial

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