Jan 5, 2007

So Abdul Razak Baginda is back into jail...

This is indeed interesting. The person that is charged with abetting murder finally back into jail and not roaming freely as before.

(Bernama) -- Political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, who has been charged with abetment in the murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu, was sent back to prison Friday after he failed to get his bail extended.

Shah Alam High Court Judge Datuk K.N.Segara refused to entertain an oral application for the extension as well as interim bail made by his counsel Wong Kian Kheong and ordered Wong to file in a formal application.

"Make a formal application. This is a serious charge. I am not interested (to hear the oral bail application). I want it in the affidavit. You had more than sufficient time to do so. I have already made the ruling and will not entertain anything else," said Segara who insisted that he needed to proceed hearing another case involving an Iranian man remanded since 1999, and subsequently left the court.

In the afternoon, Wong filed the formal bail application to have Abdul Razak, 46, released from prison while awaiting his trial. The court fixed Jan 19 to hear the bail application.

Abdul Razak was then sent to the Sungai Buloh prison and will remain there until a decision is made on the application.

Abdul Razak, 46, had earlier been allowed to be released on RM1 million bail in two sureties but it expired today. He appeared shocked by the court's decision and was seen discussing it with Wong. He was also seen embracing his wife Mazlinda Makhzan and daughter Roweena.

He is alleged to have committed the abetment offence at Bangunan Getah Asli in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, between 9.54am and 11.05am on Oct 18 and has been charged under Section 149 of the Penal Code, read with Section 302 of the same Code which carries the mandatory death sentence, if convicted.

Earlier, the same court fixed four weeks from March 10 next year (2008) for the trial. Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Salehuddin Saidin told the court that the prosecution would call 30 to 40 witnesses and needed one month to six weeks to complete their case.

Segara also allowed Salehuddin's application to have Abdul Razak's case to be jointly tried with that of two police personnel from the Bukit Aman Special Action Squad (UTK) charged with the murder of Altantuya, 28.

C/Insp Azilah Hadri, 30, and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 35, are alleged to have murdered Altantuya in the mukim of Bukit Raja, Selangor, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20.

In rejecting Wong's application for an early trial date on the grounds that there had been extensive publicity on the case and negative perception against his client, Segara said: "I don't see the need or urgency to fix an early trial date for this case."

He indicated that publicity on the case, which had been worldwide, had given the impression that the court was not ready to give an early date and this needed to be corrected.

Segara said the Shah Alam courts were faced with a severe backlog of cases and many new cases were being registered so much so that each court there had an average of 120 cases to settle.

"As such, we have devised a system to ensure justice is done fairly. All cases for trial in this court are non-bailable ones, where all the accused are held in remand.

"Therefore, those held longest in remand should get the earliest date. We have to adhere to this system unless there is an exceptional case such as one involving a child. Cases like this will supersede those involving accused in remand," he said.

Segara also made available the court register to anyone who wanted to see the court's schedule. The court, which is new, has part-heard cases dating back to 2000.

"There is an accused held in remand since Nov 5, 2002 and he will only go on trial from Dec 3 to 7. It has been five years already and the court has just begun (to hear the case) not because the court does not want to hear it but because we cannot rush into everything. Nothing will be achieved if we are to adopt such an approach.

"We do not want to do anything to please the public or the press or anybody else. We just want the cases to be carried out in a fair manner. Therefore, I don't see the need or urgency to fix an early trial date for this case," he said.

Segara also said that the court even had cases overlapping, citing a non-bailable case involving an Iranian man who had been remanded since Nov 19, 1999. The case, he said, was still ongoing.

"So I want to give everybody a fair chance to get an early trial date. It is beyond the court's power to release them (accused held in remand). It is for the Parliament to decide. It is not in the hands of the court to free them just because the court cannot fix an early date for trial.

"I wish the foreign press will not give a negative view about this. Publicity is not a ground to give an early trial date. I have never heard of that. Just because of publicity, cases not taken up by the press should not be left in the cold. Just because of publicity you cannot push it forward," he said.

Segara also told the defence and prosecution teams to be prepared to go on with the trial from day-to-day basis (after the completion of the one-month hearing) and to give their undertaking that there would not be interruptions when the trial is underway.

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