Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Ghost of Altantuya Literally Shakes Up The Court

"Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot ghostly like me, Najib?" ;-)

Altantuya murder trial: Case stood down twice due to tremors

SHAH ALAM: The Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial was stood down twice yesterday afternoon because tremors were felt several times in the building.

Judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin stood down proceedings for 15 minutes on two occasions after deputy public prosecutor Manoj Kurup mentioned the tremors which were felt by those present in court.

It was a cause for concern but was resolved when Mohd Zaki said the tremors were caused by construction work behind the court building.

The incident began just after the lunch break at 2.30pm when the first tremor was felt. And as the hearing continued, so did the tremors.

Manoj, who was conducting his examination-in-chief of investigating officer DSP Gan Tack Guan, cast worried looks at his peers from time to time over 20 minutes before he drew Mohd Zaki's attention to the tremors.

Mohd Zaki said he did not feel them, but they could be due to construction work behind the court building.

The court burst into laughter when DPP Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah said: "The weather's fairer up there. (Mohd Zaki was seated at the Bench, higher compared to the DPPs and counsel who were seated at the Bar table).

At 3.05pm, Manoj again told Mohd Zaki that he was worried about the tremors.

Mohd Zaki stood down proceedings to find out the cause of the problem. After 15 minutes, Mohd Zaki told Manoj that a check with the maintenance department showed the tremors were caused by piling works.

He said it was safe to continue. Manoj's concern, however, did not subside.

"Yang Arif, I am no expert but piling works should not have such a strong effect," he said, adding he would continue his questioning until the next tremor was felt.

Barely a minute later, there was another strong tremor and this time Mohd Zaki felt it, too. Mohd Zaki again stood down proceedings and 15 minutes later, he came on the Bench and said the court's officer-in-charge confirmed the tremors were due to the construction works and that it was safe to continue.

Gan in his evidence yesterday said he was informed of a police report lodged by a Mongolian woman, Namiraa Gerelmaa, about Altantuya who was missing. The report was later investigated for abduction with intention to confine.

Gan, who was the lead investigating officer in Altantuya's murder, was then head of D9 at the city police headquarters between 2003 and 2007. He is now Bukit Aman's Interpol assistant director.

Police Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 31, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 36, both Special Action Squad members, are charged with murdering Altantuya at Mukim Bukit Raja, Selangor between 10pm on Oct 19, 2006, and 1am the following day. Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 47, is charged with abetting them.

Hearing continues today.

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