Why is Gani Patail not leading the prosecution in Altantunya Shaariibuu murder trial?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAttorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail is to be commended for conceding to public demands for accountability and transparency to explain the reason for the last-minute change of the prosecution team in the Mongolian Altantunya Shaariibuu murder trial.

Gani said the DPP Salehuddin Saidin, who was leading the prosecution team had been seen playing badminton with trial judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin and the matter was only brought to his attention last Thursday.

Gani said realizing the sensitivity of the case, he decided to withdraw Salehuddin from leading the prosecution team. Given the time constraint of only three days for a new DPP to take over, he had no choice but to request for adequate time to prepare the case.

Whether Gani’s explanation would be fully accepted is another matter, at least he has given what can be regarded by some as adequate and acceptable explanation for the extraordinary turn of events at the start of the high-profile murder trial.

This is because there will be those who will ask why the judge Datuk Mohd
Zaki had not recused himself from the trial instead.

Questions will be asked as to why the initial judge to preside over the trial, Datuk K.N. Segara, was taken off the case as the reason given, that he had more party-heard cases, is weak and unconvincing, and whether Judge Segara should be allowed to preside over the trial.

The incident has raised anew the subject of the proper conduct of judges and the main players in the system of justice, and what has happened to the public undertaking by Tun Ahmad Fairuz on his appointment as Chief Justice some four years ago in 2003 to recast the Judges’ Code of Ethics to restore public confidence in judicial independence, impartiality and integrity.

Malaysians are reminded of the stain in the history of Malaysian judiciary where the author of the Judges’ Code of Ethics in 1994, the then Chief Justice Tun Eusoff Chin, had himself violated and discredited the Code of Ethics by his own judicial misconduct and impropriety, to the extent that he left the high judicial office in disgrace.

There is also one question which is being asked by Malaysians about the Altantunya murder trial — why Gani is not personally leading the prosecution in the Mongolian murder trial when it is likely to be the most high-profile trial under his tenure as Attorney-General?

Is Gani prepared to give a satisfactory explanation to this question?

  1. #1 by Cinapek on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 3:01 pm

    Remember the “3rd party” interference? It is no win situation. Better avoid being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

  2. #2 by unsatisfied on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 3:05 pm

    Hahaha you must be kidding. He himself knows he can’t give a fair trial since he is Mahathir-Najib’s men. Or this small case didn’t need himself to “settle”.

  3. #3 by Jong on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 4:14 pm

    Hahaha, he’s afraid he’ll end up like his predecessor Attorney General Mohktar Abdullah. Ever believe in a ‘living karma’ ?

  4. #4 by lakshy on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 4:19 pm

    What about the issue raised by YB Karpal about the relationship between the Judge and one of the defence lawyers? Wouldn’t that be a more serious reason to change the Judge rather than this issue about playing badminton together once upon a time?

    What is the point the AG is trying to make here? Which would be seen as a closer relationship?

  5. #5 by susmaryosep on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 4:54 pm

    Not fair to ask that question… The COO must know how to delegate effectively…..

  6. #6 by pwcheng on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 5:24 pm

    Every case and every turn of events had to be considered carefully for a fair trial. There is no question about that. But in this case there are so many turn of events that make it looks somewhat controversial and mysterious.

    The changing of the judge, is it done for a selected reason?

  7. #7 by i_love_malaysia on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 5:53 pm

    AG needs to ensure that he himself and all his men dont play badminton or any other games or socialise with any people outside which could affect their works as AG or DPP. This is because I believe DPP Salehuddin Saidin may also play games with Tun Majid and could influence him as well, so where to draw the line? there’s no one that is not “connected” in today’s world!!

  8. #8 by digard on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 5:59 pm

    “he’s afraid he’ll end up like his predecessor Attorney General Mohktar Abdullah”.
    Can you explain what this means ? As far as I know, he was gracefully replaced by Laura Ashley and appointed as a judge of the High Court. No ?

  9. #9 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 6:25 pm

    He is too busy lah – reading up for the IPCMC. Now on page 251.

    The manner in which the DPP was replaced and the long delay to explain is not very professional.


  10. #10 by dawsheng on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 6:31 pm

    “Is Gani prepared to give a satisfactory explanation to this question?” Uncle Kit

    He can’t because no logical explanations can be offer for such a twist and turn but he can because we’ll just have to be satisfy with every explanations given which is better than none at all, what can we do about it? Altantuya shouldn’t be dead in the first place but evil has got her blowin up to pieces. However she didn’t die in vain because pieces of her body was discovered, someone has leaked (bocored) the whereabout of the shallow grave. And pray there will be more leaks on the way as the case continues and shed lights on the mysterious murder but beware of the roof if you are one of them in the court room. Let the comedy start.

  11. #11 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 6:59 pm

    DAP seems to be complaining for the wrong reason.

    First, the practice has always been to appoint the AG as prosecutor for such a high profile case. We know why it is high profile. It would appear that the AG is saying to us that it is not a high profile case since it doesn’t involve senior politicians within the national coalition. Well, that is left to be seen.

    Secondly, the senior federal counsel and the judge in the case have been buddies for a long time, both playing marbles in their kampong when they were toddlers – but one later becoming the DPP in the case and the other the trial judge for the case. They are both members of the judiciary except that one is on the Bench and the other is not. Are we so naive as to assume that the AG does not know this?


  12. #12 by Godfather on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 7:03 pm

    Yeah, right, playing badminton in a public arena. Either the (former) prosecutor is stupid or the judge is stupid, or both, and justice would be better served with a new judge AND a new prosecution team.

    As to why Gani himself is not prosecuting, he already had a high profile case under his belt – and what case could be bigger than that of successfully putting a former DPM in jail ?

  13. #13 by Libra2 on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 7:56 pm

    This badminton thing should have been revealed in open court either by the judge or the DPP. Why did they keep quiet?

    In any case it is not proper for a judge to be playing badminton with any DPP. Judges are supposed to live a life of a hermit. No I am not joking.

  14. #14 by raven77 on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 8:39 pm


  15. #15 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 10:22 pm

    The two were marble playing buddies – before one is elevated to senior federal counsel and the other a judge. One is on the Bench and the other not.

    Or is there more than meets the eye?

    The fact that the AG himself is not heading the prosecution does not mean he is not involved.

    The reason could be they expect to lose the trial which then goes on appeal. Who are the Appeals Court judges?

  16. #16 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 10:26 pm

    It would be interesting to find out whose decision was it that the head of the prosecution be replaced? Who suggested that he play badminton over the weekend with the trial judge and be seen to be doing so.

  17. #17 by Jong on Thursday, 7 June 2007 - 11:32 pm

    “…..and what case could be bigger than that of successfully putting a former DPM in jail ?” Godfather

    If he does his job well, anything may happen, there’s always a possiblility of adding another feather to his cap !

  18. #18 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 3:39 am

    What’s the difference between The judge, the DPP and the AG – painted ponies?

    The devil is in the details! – And Joni Mitchell’s Circle Game.

    The Circle Game

    Yesterday a child came out to wonder
    Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
    Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
    And tearful at the falling of a star
    And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and down
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return we can only look behind
    From where we came
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game

  19. #19 by undergrad2 on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 5:35 am

    This thing about judges and lawyers not being seen in each other’s company in public is an outdated English practice. It has its own history in England but it has none of that tradition in Malaysia.

    How could people who went to university together and studied law and were close friends pretend not to know each other once they find themselves on the opposite sides, and some on the Bench – and some on the bench in the park? They cannot visit each other’s families, attend weddings and funerals?? It is ridiculous.

    In the U.S. they have none of that bull shit! They are not supposed to discuss the case. Yes. That makes sense.

  20. #20 by Tai Lo Chin on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 5:40 am

    When previous Chief Justice Tun Eusoff Chin had a holiday together with a lawyer in New Zealand, who bore the brunt of public criticisms? It wasn’t the lawyer . It is understandable that lawyers, just like prosecutors, would like to associate with judges and have their court arguments receive favourable judicial assessment. It was the judge who should know better than fraternize with those who will argue before him, thereby compromising the principle that impartiality and justice must not only be done but seen done …..

    This being the case, the fallout of the badminton episode should be the replacement of the judge hearing the case than the prosecutors. Replacing the prosecutors with someone new not familiar with the case gives impression that government is either not serious in prosecuting the case or prepared to delay it, and justice (as the newly appointed would need time to familiarize with the intricacies of the case).

    It is easier to recluse the judge. If so, this would be the third time around of a change of judges which would be most unfortunate as international watchers are wondering, what’s happening. It’s so easy to give impression that behind the scenes, horse trading may be taking place.

  21. #21 by Tai Lo Chin on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 5:45 am

    Who the players are in court (prosecutors included) may be used as political leveraging point, subject to changes. AG is not prosecuting the high profile case because he does not want to replace himself last minute if expedience requires. He does want to be caught possibly between the anvil and a hammer.

  22. #22 by Tai Lo Chin on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 5:46 am

    Correction: “He does not want to be caught possibly between the anvil and a hammer”.

  23. #23 by Tom Peters on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 6:28 am

    I believe Cinapek’s ‘3rd party interference’ is in reference to Gani’s attempt to strike a ‘deal’ with Manjit Singh Dhillon in the Nallakarupan matter, or is it something else. I’m a bit lost here. Am I the only one who feels safe with controversial free Tun Majid than with Gani himself ?

  24. #24 by undergrad2 on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 6:43 am

    The AG perhaps by not leading the prosecution shows he knows something we do not know? Is the Government to lose the case?

  25. #25 by undergrad2 on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 6:43 am

    expecting to lose the case. sorry.

  26. #26 by Tai Lo Chin on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 7:21 am

    “The AG perhaps by not leading the prosecution shows he knows something we do not know? Is the Government to lose the case?” said Undergrad2.

    More likely, though AG expected to win, there may be “3rd party interference” of his scope and limits of prosecution as against what Defence may likely raise, and hence if AG were to personally prosecute, he may lose credibility if he relents to pressure or his job if he resists it!

  27. #27 by undergrad2 on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 8:38 am

    AG, no doubt, should be leading the Nightmare Team. He is not and that is bad news for Lady Justice.

    The Scale of Justice is about to tip the wrong way.

  28. #28 by FuturePolitician on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 9:28 am

    Do have some hope in our Judicial System after LinaJoy’s case. The accuse is presume innocent until proven guilty. You dont want to send an innocent man to jail.

    We need to find out

    1. Who actually blew her up?
    2. Who authorized the release of the grenade to be used? How could a police
    officer able to obtain the grenade? It is a millitary issued weapon.
    3. Why was she killed? Love or Money? others?

    Lets all follow this closely

  29. #29 by raven77 on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 12:22 pm

    Maybe the DPP knows that all 3 witnesses are going to spill the beans and he woudn’t want to be caught in the middle…tough job

  30. #30 by Donald on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 6:56 pm

    The one who asked about the value of time and what makes one waste time should ask about the value of money instead.

  31. #31 by undergrad2 on Friday, 8 June 2007 - 10:03 pm


    We do not know the facts. Since we do not know the facts we cannot know the issues. Do you know the facts of the case? Do you know the definition of ‘murder’ and ‘conspiracy to murder’?

  32. #32 by shortie kiasu on Sunday, 10 June 2007 - 11:53 am

    Any qualified and experienced DPP can lead the prosecution not necessarily AG himself, some of his man may be as good if not better than him in prosecution. So that may not necessarily be the main issue.

    What is important is the justice must not only be done; but to be seen to be done.

    This may be a high profile criminal case, not it is no different from all other cases appearing in high court in the country, and that is justice must not only be done; but to be seen to be done.

    And since this is a high profile case internationally, the AG & Judiciary will be keeping close tap on every development and progress of the trial, that is a blessing.

    It is not likely that any one would attempt to get out of bound, it is a blessing in disguise.

  33. #33 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 10 June 2007 - 7:43 pm

    “What is important is the justice must not only be done; but to be seen to be done.”

    I have no problem with that.

    Except that in Malaysia, it is more like not doing justice but be seen as doing it.

  34. #34 by Godfather on Monday, 11 June 2007 - 10:25 am

    The Bar Council reveals that it is widely known amongst the legal circles that the judge and the former prosecutor had been playing badminton together for some time now, so for Gani to use this as a last minute excuse smacks of incompetence at best.

  35. #35 by FuturePolitician on Monday, 11 June 2007 - 10:29 am

    UG2-yes i do know defination of murder..etc,etc. Justice must be serve, but not by the public. Since I dont know the facts, hard to comment on it BUT with reference to the news and arms used for the killing…we all know whom have not been included..yet.

  36. #36 by Richard Teo on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 9:53 pm

    I dont know whether this is the judge from Kota bharu session court.If it is then I doubt the trial will be fair for the prosecution.In the Kota Bharu case (if it is the same judge) prior to my case I saw the judge and the insurance company’s lawyer at the canteen having a drink when I happened to be there.I was totally shocked. The outcome was a foregone conclusion. I lost the insurance claim.I immediately consulted my counsel and immediately wrote to the Lord President who was Datuk Dzaiddin at that time.He did not even bother to reply to my complaint.If this is the same judge from kota bharu then the not guilty verdict is a certainty.This judge is without any integrity.

  37. #37 by Richard Teo on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 9:56 pm

    Since the judge have not start hearing the case ,wouldnt it be more convenient and less of a hassle if the judge was to recusse himself and a new judge be appointed in his place.The prosecution has already spent several months preparing for the case and it would not be logical to replace him.The whole thing sounds very fishy.

  38. #38 by ktteokt on Friday, 15 June 2007 - 6:38 am

    all these boils down to one thing – someone behind the scene is “shadow-playing” the malaysian judiciary. as it is, the three government machinery, i.e. the legislature, executive and judiciary were supposed to be independent but in malaysia, this is never so.

    remember the days when five high court judges were removed on the same day. it would have been difficult even to remove one single sessions court judge but some how, these smart people were able to throw out five prominent senior high court judges on the same day. how they do it remains a mystery.

    the government knows very well who the high court judge was going to be, who would conduct the prosecution and all details were communicated between the parties. why wait till the last minute to come up with these “badminton” stuff? it has become a laughing stock to the world at large. whoever heard of such good reasons for delaying the case?

    furthermore, how was the explosive used for blowing up the body of the victim obtained? not even the police are entitled to get its hands on such items. this could only come from the military service and shouldn’t it be time to take stock of all ammunition and explosives at the army camps? if stock-keeping had been done well, it would be easy for the prosecution to trace the explosive and the case is solved.

    and this is not a case to be hidden or where a shoddy judgment may be given. the whole world had its eyes on this case and any mistakes along the way can be disastrous not only to the judiciary or the government but to the nation as a whole.

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