Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sosilawati trial: Judge warns MP over comments

The High Court judge hearing the Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya trial today, warned Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan over comments he made about defence counsel Manjeet Singh Dhillon in relation to the trial.

“Nobody, not even politicians or parliamentarians, should pass remarks on an ongoing case. I think this is a basic thing which everybody should know,” said Justice Datuk Akhtar Tahir in censuring Gobalakrishnan.

Gobalakrishnan’s comments were reported in an Utusan Malaysia article published on Aug 17 this year.

Akhtar said Gobalakrishnan should not comment on what transpires in an ongoing trial, adding that it was all the more serious as Gobalakrishnan had made untruthful remarks despite not being present at the hearing.

“What I am concerned about is that you have projected that the court can be easily manipulated for political purposes,” said Akhtar.

He said although the judiciary did not make public statements about its independence, it did not mean that the judiciary was easily manipulated.

“It does not mean that we are fools sitting here allowing deputy public prosecutors (DPPs) or defence counsel to do as they like. We go according to the law.”

He told Gobalakrishnan that he was not taking any action as he wanted to give him a chance, and issued a warning.

In explanation, Gobalakrishnan said he did not remember the remarks he made as he receives calls daily, a point which Akhtar dismissed.

Akhtar said he believed the explanation given by Utusan Malaysia journalist Raja Syahrir Abu Bakar who was summoned to court along with the daily’s group editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak on Aug 26 to show cause over the Aug 17 article entitled “Manjeet selalu burukkan kerajaan” (Manjeet always badmouths the government).

Kuala Lumpur Hospital forensic medicine specialist Dr Nurliza Abdullah who continued her testimony at the murder trial, maintained that she was objective in her examination of bone fragments presented to her by the police for analysis.

“I did my analysis in a professional manner using anthropological knowledge to determine if the bones were human,” said Nurliza under re-examination by DPP Saiful Edris Zainuddin.

Defence counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad had suggested yesterday that Nurliza could have been prejudiced by the form, which, among other things stated that three Malay men and a Malay woman had been killed and burnt at Ladang Gadong, near Banting.

The woman, Sosilawati and her three companions, CIMB Bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, 38, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, and driver Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44, went missing in August last year.

Former lawyer N Pathmanabhan and plantation workers T Thilaiyagan, R Matan and R Khatavarayan are charged with the murder of Sosilawati and her three companions at Lot 2001, Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat, Banting between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on Aug 30 last year.

The second witness today, DiGi engineer Chong Chee Wah, said he was brought by the police to locations to make test calls in March and July this year.

When asked by DPP Nur Azimul Azami, Chong said he was brought to Tanjung Sepat near Banting as well as to a parking lot opposite the Dorsett Hotel.

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