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ALTANTUYA'S MURDER TRIAL: TO IMPEACH OR NOT TO IMPEACH

"Contradictory statements made but admitted that statements based on long term memory is correct and statements based on short term memory is false"-DSP Yusri of UTK ( Special Action Force)
Witness' credibility should not be impeached, says defence

Political analyst and Najib's thinh tank man: Razak Baginda

Maria J.Dass
Sun2surf
newsdesk@thesundaily.com

SHAH ALAM (July 28, 2008): The credibility of trial-within-a-trial defence witness DSP Yusri Hasan Basri should not be impeached due to the time frame between the time of the incident, the time his statement was recorded, and when he testified in court, the Altantuya murder trial was told today.

Defence counsel for second accused Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, Hasnal Redzua Merican said instead of impeaching Yusri's credibility, his testimony should be viewed together with the credibility of contradictory statements made by the prosecution's own witnesses.

Submitting during impeachment proceedings against Yusri, Hasnal said there were various contradictory statement made in court by the witnesses in relation to Yusri's credibility in response to the events of Nov 7, 2006 -- which has to be assessed by the court.

Yusri’s statement on his function to collect Special Action Unit (UTK) belongings during investigations at Sirul Azhar’s apartment on Nov 7, 2006 was only recorded on Aug 2, 2007.

Following this he was called to testify in court during a trial-within-a-trial pertaining the sequence of events on Sept 4, 2007.

There were several contradictions between the Yusri’s statement to the police and the ones that he made in court.

Yusri a UTK officer has since said his statement in court was the accurate one as he had thought about this over the month after giving his statement to the police.

Yusri stressed that his role that day was a small one – which was to collect items belonging to the UTK and so he did not heed the sequence of events.

Hasnal submitted on the points of the four contradictory statements as follows:

Contradiction 1

Razak baginda at the Shah Alam High Court today.
In his police statement: He said he was not sure if Sirul was brought to his room as he (Yusri) was looking for UTK gear.

In court: Yusri said the whole time he was in Sirul’s apartment, he was sure Sirul was not brought into his room.

Hasnal’s submission: Questions posed to the witness during the recording of the witness statement and also the questions put to him in court is much wider than the function he performed on Nov 7, 2006.

The witness said he had one month to think about his witness statement (taken 10 months after the incident) and that his testimony in court was the actual account. The prosecution is actually comparing his statement in court to the witness statement much earlier which was equally exposed to a tendency of forgetfulness, in accuracies and mistakes.

The context of the question needs to be looked at because his response was that he did not see Sirul being brought into the room, but what he was not sure of was whether this question was in relation to the time when he was in the room searching for the UTK items.

Contradiction No 2

In his police statement: He said when the D9 officers searched the room, he was not sure if Sirul was in there.

In court: Yusri said when he Sgt Rosli had gone into the room to collect the UTK items, D9 officers were conducting a search in the room, but Sirul was not in the room.

Hasnal’s submission: There is a world of difference to a witness committing himself to one answer and changing it on another occasion, than a witness who is not sure. This witness had one month to recall his memory and commit himself to an answer. It was not very clear from the questions out in court on who was doing the checks. With regards to the alleged contradiction; factually the witness testified on two different occasions altogether. So these cannot be said to be contradicting one another.

Sirul Azhar and Azilah at the Shah Alam High Court
today.
Contradiction No 3

In his police statement: He said he only entered the apartment after the D9 officers.

In court: Yusri said he entered Sirul’s apartment together with Zulkarnain and the rest of the D9 officers.

Hasnal’s submission: The order of who went into Sirul’s apartment first was not a consideration when Yusri had gone to the apartment to collect the items. It was not a matter of utmost concern to him. The time frame within which he was required to remember had long past – almost 10 months.

Contradiction No 4

In his police statement: He said the Bomb Disposal Unit entered after him to check the place.

In court: Yusri said he was not sure if the Bomb Disposal Unit entered Sirul’s apartment on Nov 7 last year.

Hasnal’s submission: This goes to the framing of the question as he would not have been sure as to when the bomb disposal unit went into the apartment (the bomb disposal unit was the last unit to inspect the apartment). There are no contradiction as far as the fourth element of contradiction is concerned.

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