Speakers' Corner: Occasional contributions from readers, which do not necessarily reflect the views of Sarawak Report but may be published at the discretion of the site.

Miscarriages Of Justice

It is a fundamental truth in all law-abiding democracies that justice must be even handed and that when circumstances arise that indicate that the interests of justice have not been served the Courts must do whatever is necessary to get to the truth; however embarrassing that may be to highly placed persons in society. On that note it must conceded that a former Head of government is certainly a “highly placed person”  And also that those responsible for justice being enforced, be they Judges or political personalities, are bound to see to it that that happens.

Moving from the theoretical to the practical it is clear from the recently published articles by a senior lawyer that Justice was by no means served in the series of judicial proceedings that followed on the arrest of two members of the PDRM in connection with the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya., followed by their trial and that of their reputed accomplice Razak Baginda.

It therefore came as no surprise that a reference to the Court of Appeal resulted in a dismissal of the convictions of the two accused police officers whose alleged accomplice had been acquitted by the High Court. That, entirely appropriate, decision resulted in the two police officers concerned being free men. One, smarter than the other, moved to Australia where he is held in immigration custody and cannot be returned to Malaysia because Australia will not return him to be judicially executed. He remains in detention which, in his case, may be the safest place for him to be.

In Malaysia the acquittal clearly caused consternation in certain political quarters as it left the freed policemen in a position to capitalise on their experiences; something which certain persons clearly feared would bring them not only political and social exclusion from the favoured positions they held in Malaysian society but could bring necks nearer to the noose; as it should have done

The case was then taken up by the Federal Court which exercises superior jurisdiction to the Court of Appeal and where a re-trial resulted in the conviction of both police officers and sentences of death. Here again a more usual course would have been to quash the acquittal and order a re-trial. The Court did not see fit to explain why it substituted itself for a Court of first instance leaving that as a matter for speculation. Curiously the Court, though it had power to do so did not re-try the third accused in the original High Court proceedings.To date no public explanation exists to cover this apparent lacuna. IF two police officers murdered a woman entirely unknown to them prior to doing so then it must have been thought appropriate and relevant to enquire into their motivation. The High Court didn’t speculate about that aspect of the crime. The Federal Court equally did nothing. the only “explanation” so far on offer is that postulated by the accused that they acted on the orders of a VVIP who described the deceased as a “dangerous foreign spy” and declined to explain why the ordinary course of justice in such circumstances would not be followed. Investigation,prosecution and, if convicted, appropriate punishment.

There can be no two ways about this aspect of the matter. Either the accused murdered the victim, and shredded her body with explosives. for no reason at all. In which case their mental conditions should clearly have been the subject of expert investigation as blatant lunacy; or there was a good reason why they acted as they did. The senior of the two policemen did offer a detailed explanation when questioned but nothing of that was, on the record, gone into at the High Court and the proceedings at the Federal Court did not disclose any interest.

The crucial evidence of the gazetted officer under whose orders the two accused were at the time of the murder was not called at the High Court and the Federal Court was later at pains to rule that his evidence would not have been necessary even though he was available to be called to give it. Since such evidence would, at the very least, have confirmed that a “murder squad” existed within the Special Branch of the PDRM the reluctance to call him, and the pains taken to justify that reman inexplicable. Unless of course, one accepts that such a squad did exist, that the accused police belonged to it and that, as they alleged, a number of other murders had been committed by members of it.

Whether or not those then responsible for the control of the PDRM at that time are available to be questioned such a slur on the reputation of his Force would normally move the present IGP to make proper enquiries. So far there is nothing to lead the public to believe that he has or will do so.

All these tergiversations, errors and omissions cannot but lead to the conclusion that ere is more, far more, to this whole affair than has ever been exposed, or even competently investigated. The alleged instigator and alleged former paramour of the murdered Altantuya is still about and may be found, when not electioneering, at the High Court answering to the first in a series of criminal charges for dishonesty offences. There should, therefore, be no difficulty in mounting a further, and this time, competent criminal investigation into this whole affair. If only to determine whether the Federal Court was deliberately misled and to finally attach blame for this dreadful murder to all those responsible.

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