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Justice Singham’s strictures on shoddy
investigation and prosecution in high-profile murder case raised grave
questions about professionalism of police and Attorney-General’s Chambers
and the credibility and integrity of the system of justice in high-profile
(Parliament, Thursday) : Justice Datuk V. T. Singham’s strictures on shoddy investigation and prosecution in a high-profile murder case raised grave questions about the professionalism of the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the credibility and integrity of the system of justice in high-profile criminal cases.
The press reported from Ipoh yesterday that the police and the deputy public prosecutors “bore the brunt of the High Court’s wrath for their shoddy investigation and prosecution and questionable standards that led to the acquittal of five men charted with murdering a 21-year-old engineering student”.
The Ipoh judge, Justice Singham said police investigations into the murder of Mohd Hosni Fadzil Mohd Amin were “questionable and clumsiest ever”, carried out “in a very unsatisfactory and irresponsible manner, leaving the court with no choice but to discharge all the accused”.
Among the six men was 27-year-old Azman Ismail @ Man Datuk, a son of former mayor Datuk Ismail Shah Bodin. Four others were Mohd Hafiz Ibrahim @ Tony, 22; Mohd Shafiq Azren Mohd Salleh @ Boy TC, 23; Mohd Faizal Radzali @ Jambu, 25; and Mohamad Rizal Abu Hassan @ Adik, 22. The sixth accused, Mohd Nizam Ariffin @ Tok Mat Kren, 22, was not arrested.
They were charged with committing the offence at the Ikhwan Auto workshop in the Kinta Light Industrial Area here on Dec 22, 2003.
Delivering judgment at the end of the prosecution’s case, Justice Singham said: “Although a life has been taken, it would be gross injustice for the court to link the five to the murder when the entire investigation is questionable.
“The lack of seriousness and dedication by the police had caused their investigation to be open to many inferences.
“The murder of Mohd Hosni is senseless but the court cannot please the public or media without basing on strong evidence.”
The main blunder of the investigation was when the police forensics team took between five and six days to arrive at the workshop where Hosni was supposedly murdered, he said.
There was also the conflicting dates between Mohd Hosni’s medical report and the date when the deceased was found dead, noted Justice Singham.
He also ruled that the DNA report tendered by the prosecution was unreliable, as the examination was not conducted by an expert.
Justice Singham also hit out at the prosecution for being slow and lacking in diligence in handling the case.
He said he found it strange that deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar, acting upon the instructions of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, had only applied for an additional charge of abduction against the six at the end of the prosecution’s case.
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan and the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail should explain the reasons for the shoddy investigation and prosecution in such a high-profile case.
The serious indictment of Justice Singham on the professionalism of the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers has only reinforced public concerns about the credibility, independence, impartiality and integrity of the system of justice and the rule of law in Malaysia when even greater high-profile cases are involved – like the case of the murder of the Mongolian woman Altantunya Shaarriibu.
The Inspector-General of Police has said that the Police have started recording statements from those named by political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda in his affidavit to support his bail application last week.
Musa said investigations started immediately after the police got hold of the affidavit as “There are things that are new to us”, raising the question why the police did not know about them earlier when what was told the court last Friday was based on Abdul Razak’s affidavit and statements recorded by the police.