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INTERESTING CASE FOR STUDENTS AND NON-STUDENTS OF LAW

All sorts of twist and turns, surprises as well as contradictions appear in the Altantuya's murder trial. What a test of short term and long term memory capabilities of counsels, prosecutors, defendants, plaintiffs and most important of all, the honourable judges. Take the case below.
A spent bullet shell was found in the vehicle belonging to Sirul. Ballistic tests showed that the bullet was from a HK MP5 sub machine gun belonging to Sirul although UTK armoury officer Fatimah Abdul Wahap testified that Sirul had returned all the bullets he had taken from the armoury. Whose then? Ghost?

Furthermore the cause of death was a blast related injury, why implicate the use of a firearm?

Lawyer: Bullet shell may have been planted


By Maria J.Dass

newsdesk@thesundaily.com
sun2surf
SHAH ALAM (Aug 7, 2008) : The sinister circumstances of how a spent bullet shell ended up in the Suzuki 4WD belonging to one of the accused in the Altantuya murder trial was raised by his lawyer today.

Lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin who was representing Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, implied that the spent shell may have been planted in Sirul’s vehicle, raising also the possibility of other items to be planted in the vehicle.

On Wednesday Kamarul said nature of evidence in the vehicle must have been compromised by fact vehicle had been accessed by all and sundry.

C/Insp Azilah Hadri and Sirul from the police special action unit (UTK) are charged with murdering Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu at a jungle clearing in Mukim Bukit Raja between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20,2006 while political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda is charged with abetting them.

In continuing his submission, Kamarul said there was a connection between this vehicle and the prosecution's attempt to link a bullet for certain evidential purpose.

However he said this purpose does not place emphasis or evidential value on the use of a gun or a firearm.

"In fact they did not put emphasis on the manner of death in this way; nothing on death by shooting and injury by bullet, or role that firearms would play," Kamarul said adding that the cause of death in this case was put down to probable blast related injuries.

Submitting on the bullet shell found in Sirul’s 4WD between the drivers seat and door, Kamarul said ballistic tests showed that the bullet was from a HK MP5 sub machine gun belonging to Sirul although UTK armoury officer Fatimah Abdul Wahap testified that Sirul had returned all the bullets he had taken from the armoury.

"So the material question now is where did the used bullet shell come from?" he asked.

Kamarul then brought up the testimony of Sgt Rosli Ibrahim who said that he had handed the keys to Sirul’s vehicle to DSP Khairi on Nov 3, 2006.

Khairi then handed the keys back to Rosli on Nov 6 and asked him to hand it over to investigating officer ASP Tonny Lunggan.

"The taking of the keys by Khairi is a gap in the prosecutions case and seems to have been connected to some kind of understanding with Tonny," Kamarul implied.

"Now the utter coincidence is that the bullet shell was found in the vehicle and DSP Khairi who took the keys to the vehicle was Senior Officer in charge of Logistics and Armoury in the UTK," he said.

There is grave suspicion that DSP Khairi may have had something to do with the appearance of the spent bullet in Sirul’s 4WD. And if he had, what other items that might have made their appearance in the said vehicle in the intermittent period, asked Kamarul, adding that this dark circumstance calls for an explanation.

Kamarul then went on to qustion DNA analysis conducted by chemistry department forensic division director J.Primulapathi, pertaining to the usage of tissue (T5) from the crime scene which he used to come to the conclusion that the sample belonged to the biological daughter of S.Altansetseg and Setev Shaariibuu.

The samples were also compared to swabs taken from jewellery found in Sirul’s apartment, a black jacket belonging to Sirul, tufts of hair and a pair of slippers found in Sirul’s vehicle.

Kamarul however argued that the use of Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to do a comparison with the samples was not conclusive as it was based on the maternal lineage.

Primulapathi told the court he had conducted the mtDNA as the nuclear DNA tests produced no results.

The mtDNA test showed that the donor of the tissue found at the crime scene shared the same maternal lineage as S.Altantsetseg.

Primulapathi said if the donor of the blood stain on the slippers, hairs and swabs were different persons, he or she could be the brother, sister, grandmother with the same maternal lineage.

"Primulapathi cannot conclude that the donors of the DNA on the items in question was the same person, or that they only shared the same maternal lineage," said Kamarul.

He said since Primulapathi concluded the donors of the mtDNA from these items of evidence share the same maternal lineage, the question is, from what size of pool of people these donors could have come from, assuming it is one individual.

"Because the bigger the pool of population who could have shared the same mtDNA with T5 the further away the probability that he or she is somewhat directly related to that donor," he added.

Kamarul said science cannot determine the size of this possible population that may share the same mtDNA as the donor.

Hearing continues.

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