Altantunya trial – Malaysia’s justice system the casualty with AG’s continued silence

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail must come forward to give proper explanation to end the thousand-and-one questions swirling around the last-minute change of prosecution team in the high-profile Mongolian Altantunya Shaariibuu murder trial or Malaysia’s system of justice is in for another chapter of adverse publicity both nationally and internationally, ending up as the greatest casualty.

Gani should know that his explanation that the last-minute switch of prosecution was to enable “a fair trial” raises more questions than giving an answer.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIt explains not only nothing, but implies that continuing with the original prosecution team of DPPs Salehuddin Saidin and Noorin Badaruddin could be against the interests of ensuring “a fair trial” and if so, clearly the Attorney-General must explain why, since it casts a serious reflection on the professionalism and integrity of Salehuddin and Noorin.

Furthermore, why if there has to be a switch of the prosecution team for whatever reasons, the change was not made earlier as the charges of murder against the three accused were first made in November 15 last year while the trial dates for 25 days starting on Monday was fixed by the Shah Alam High Court as far back as March 9, 2007.

Gani should explain whether the last-minute switch of the prosecution team was to strengthen the chances of securing convictions in the Altantunya Shaariibuu trial and if so, how.

Why was the whole prosecution team switched, instead of directing DPP Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah to lead the prosecution team but still comprising Salehuddin and Noorin since they had been involved in the preparation of the trial right from the beginning?

Gani should be aware of the political implications of and the world-wide interests in the trial and should be wary of taking any steps which can only give wing to speculation of political interference in the conduct of the trial.

The Attorney-General cannot continue to keep silent as the reputation and international standing of the Malaysian system of justice, which is trying, not too successfully, to regain national and international confidence after two decades of relentless assault and erosion by the Executive, will otherwise be the greatest casualty.

  1. #1 by ahkok1982 on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 10:45 am

    no matter how you look at it, one can only think that he is trying to field in a whole new prosecution team so that they will be ill prepared and thus unable to give a strong case for prosecution of those who are indeed guilty. His one single action is like telling the whole world that those standing trial are GUILTY!
    anyway, i dont think tt AG really cares what the world thinks of them since they have already syok sendiri with their own created 9th position in the world’s least corrupt judiciary. everything also syok sendiri…

  2. #2 by yokozuna58 on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 10:55 am

  3. #3 by TalkisCheap on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 11:05 am

    In Bolehland all this [deleted] have the face like an onion with many many layers of manipulating and Ignorance face.

    They don’t care what the whole world think. PERIOD.

  4. #4 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 11:32 am

    Fairness and justice aren’t the exclusive domain of judges and prosecutors!

    The apogee of fairness and justice must lie in the public domain – in the eyes of the beholders. It is the collective views of the sea of independent people who have no vested interest in the trial which most tellingly expresses whether the ‘public’ moves and counter-moves are fair, reasonable or just.

    How can a change of prosecutors ensure a ‘fair trial’? Is there a suggestion that earlier prosecutors have been compromised?

    Long months of accumulated experience and investigative groundwork cannot be easily replaced especially when the historicity and chronology of events may have an effect on the outcome of the trial.

    AG, as a public servant, is beholden to the public to tell the absolute truth particularly in a trial that impinges so deeply on the national psyche. He simply cannot wave the public unease away by dropping such an overworn cliche as a ‘fair trial’.

    Anybody who has even a bit of legal training and background knows there are ‘tricks of the trade’. The AG is not at liberty to use any trick of the trade! Fairness and justice demands that the pure stream of justice must flow through this trial unadulterated by the machinations and inventiveness of all parties.

    The judge must slam his feet in the faces of any who seeks to do otherwise.

  5. #5 by k1980 on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 11:46 am

    Won’t be surprised if all the three accused are freed and a verdict of “death by misadventure” is pronounced

  6. #6 by FuturePolitician on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 11:51 am

    It is a highly publized case and the world is watching..let it have the day in court before we start to say “Malaysia Justice System the Casualty”. At least LINA JOY’s case is now case law, and HAS BEEN DECIDED UPON..instead of being left dangling for another 20years.

    You know JOY’s case can be overturn someday…by the people of MALAYSIA. I just hope it would be during my life time on earth.

  7. #7 by Jimm on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 12:25 pm

    Well, another reason to postpone it is because AAB have his personal plan drawn for this weekend. He will not be available to attend to matter concerning when he have other important appointment.

  8. #8 by good coolie on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 1:23 pm

    Would it be against the law, may be against the constitution, or a sensitive, or a seditious matter, if this humble coolie asks, WHY. I MEAN WHY, WAS THE ENTIRE PROSECUTION TEAM CHANGED?

  9. #9 by maya on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 1:40 pm

    Dear Uncle Lim,
    I really admire your courage and resilience. I mean, you are asking all the right questions, but i’ll be damned if you get any answers!!
    The powers that be think they are running a cowboy state, all that comes to mind at present is a malay adage “sepandai pandai tupai melompat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah juga”. I think the “tupai’ has jumped around enough and after 50 years it is time for it to take a landing. Take good care of yourself, we need you to keep on asking the questions in the face of such blatant disregard of law and order by a person who, in this case, is supposed to uphold it.
    God bless us.

  10. #10 by Godfather on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 2:49 pm

    Justice is on trial here, but then this is a government that is so inept, it probably doesn’t know what justice means. I have full sympathy for the sacrificial lambs – in the name of the Malaysian brand of justice.

  11. #11 by HJ Angus on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 2:52 pm

    Are not the words from Alice in Wonderland true?

    “It gets curiouser and curiouser”.

  12. #12 by picipicibodobodo on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 4:39 pm

    TV3 and local newspaper is keeping mum on 5 and 6 June 2007. Normally, in such situation, TV3 will jump here and there looking for answers regarding the postponement. Just see how they jumped for answers during the “bocor” issue recently. No wonder the security guard at the court complex got mad (We could also hear the cameraman provoked the poor guard). To reporters of Government controlled media : You either let them hold your balls or you may choose an honourable resignation.

  13. #13 by pwcheng on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 5:30 pm

    The prosecutor will normally strategize themselves to convict the “murderers” but I think in this case it is the other way round. They will strategize themselves to free at least one of them, as there will be two scapegoats to play around.

  14. #14 by Winston on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 8:44 pm

    One month for the new prosecution team to go through the whole mass of evidence may not be sufficient.
    In the end, the case may get so messed up that nobody gets convicted!

  15. #15 by negarawan on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 9:40 pm

    The judge is related to one of the defence lawyer
    The judge plays badminton with one of the prosecution lawyer
    Simple logic tells that the judge is the one that should be changed!

    Ada udang besar di sebalik batu!!

  16. #16 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 9:49 pm

    “They will strategize themselves to free at least one of them, as there will be two scapegoats to play around.”

    Whoever heard of Prosecutors ‘strategizing’ to free one of three jointly charged with the crime of murder??

    This case involves conspiracy to murder and murder. Prosecutors would want to have separate trials for all three accused – and make one accused testify against the other in order to free himself.

  17. #17 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 9:55 pm

    Straits Times Online, Singapore:

    “Malaysia defends prosecution change in Mongolian case”

    KUALA LUMPUR – MALAYSIA had to replace the government prosecutors handling the murder of a Mongolian model as the head of the team had been seen playing badminton with the trial judge.
    According to the attorney-general on Wednesday, Malaysia had postponed the murder trial after government prosecutors replaced the legal team at the eleventh hour.

    GOOD GRIEF! This can only happen in Malaysia. Now, what’s next?

  18. #18 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 9:59 pm

    One of the accused could have done the murder. But there is such a thing as conspiracy. It is harder to prove conspiracy.

  19. #19 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 10:01 pm

    The DPP playing badminton with the trial judge?? Well, justice must not only be done but be seen to be done.

    This is to avoid a motion for a mistrial.

    But I don’t think that was the reason.

  20. #20 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 10:03 pm

    The next judge could have played bedminton with the Mongolian beauty!

  21. #21 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 10:05 pm

    “Simple logic tells that the judge is the one that should be changed!”

    In a civil trial, the trial judge would recuse himself or herself at the start of the trial for having known one of the litigants or both.

  22. #22 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 - 10:07 pm

    …but replacing the entire prosecution team?? Very suspicious.

  23. #23 by ktteokt on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 2:10 am

    whatever you may say, justice in malaysia is not only undone but unseen to be done. money and power decide the outcome of any case, be it civil or criminal and not justice and evidence.

    in the very first place, where did the explosive used for blowing up the corpse come from? not even the police can get hold of such stuff. only military personnel can do so. so why not have a stock take done on all weapons, explosives, arms, etc at all army camps nationwide to see if what is purchased tally with what has been used and taken out and the balance. i am very sure the totl used or taken out plus the balance on any item will never tally with the total purchased.

    what’s more with the messy hands of parliament in the business of the court, any decision of the court may just be overruled by parliament. so where is the so called “separation of powers” in malaysia?

  24. #24 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 6:12 am

    “..why not have a stock take done on all weapons, explosives, arms, etc ”

    That merely proves that somebody has not been doing his job. It does not prove murder by explosives and certainly by those now stand accused. It certainly does not prove her murder.

  25. #25 by k1980 on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 8:11 am
    Will this ever happen to our leaders?
    “… is a well-known, internationally recognised dictator and oppressor of his own people, and I think this has been an embarrassment to the university. I am pleased action is at last being taken.”

  26. #26 by good coolie on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 8:41 am

    Reading the news reports, I initially thought that the fault was with playing Badminton(playing some other game would have been alright), and, only later realised that it was the possibility of bias that caused the entire prosecution team to be changed.

    I agree with the other commentators (undergrad2 et al) that the Judge should have recused himself, lending more credibility to the trial.

  27. #27 by Jong on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 3:53 pm

    ” That merely proves that somebody has not been doing his job. It does not prove murder by explosives and certainly by those now stand accused. It certainly does not prove her murder.” – undergrad2

    Thought provoking indeed. Yeah, it could have been a suicide threat turned sour – an attempt, with C4 explosives that subsequently blew up in her own face?

  28. #28 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 10:51 pm

    ..or that she was practicing to detonate a bomb which blew up in her face. Yes. That too. Or she be could an agent of the Mongolian secret service.

    But a suicide threat turned sour?? Naaah!

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