Banting murders: Another trial-within-a-trial

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11:38 PM | Aizat Chik Suliman | No comments
SHAH ALAM: The 41st day of hearing of the murders of cosmetics millionaire Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others in the High Court here Tuesday witnessed another trial-within-a-trial, the third since the case started.

Justice Datuk Akhtar Tahir ordered the trial-within-a trial to determine whether 59th prosecution witness, K. Sarawanan, had given his statement on the case to the police.

This followed an allegation by the prosecution that Sarawanan had given five contradicting statements in court and they had submitted an application under Section 155C of the Evidence Act to impeach him.

Sarawanan, 19, is currently undergoing a 20-year jail sentence at the Sungai Udang Prison in Melaka for disposing off evidence in the murder case.

Prior to this, a trial-within-a-trial was held to determine the admissibility of the caution statement by U. Suresh, who is the 29th prosecution witness and is also undergoing a jail sentence for disposing off evidence in the murder case. The second trial-within-a-trial was held to determine the admissibility of information by T. Thilaiyalagan and R. Kathavarayan, the second and third accused, respectively, to the police which led to the discovery of the exhibits in the murder case.

Sarawanan and Suresh were testifying in the trial of former lawyer, N. Pathmanabhan, and three farm workers, Thilaiyalagan, R. Matan and Kathavarayan, who are charged with murdering Sosilawati, 47; her driver, Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 47; lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, and ban officer Noorhisham Mohamad, 38, at Lot No. 2001, Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat, Banting, between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on Aug 30 last year.

Pathmanabhan, 42, Thilaiyalagan, 20, Matan, 21, and Kathavarayan, 31, are charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

The first witness in the trial-within-a-trial, senior investigating officer at the Dang Wangi police station, Wan Aeidil Wan Abdullah, 32, said he recorded Sarawanan's caution statement in the remand room of the Sungai Udang Prison on Oct 26 last year.

He said it was done from 3am until 6.20pm on the same day with the assistance of a Tamil interpreter, Corporal K. Singgaram.

Questioned by deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff, Wan Aeidil said he recorded Sarawanan's caution statement using the "Word" application on a laptop belonging to investigating officer ASP Mohd Ishak Yaakob.

"Before printing it, the interpreter and Sarawanan checked the caution statement. After printing it, I read it again, with the interpreter translating it, and after Sarawanan agreed to it, we signed it," he added.

Ishak : Did you ask Sarawanan whether he wanted to make any changes in the statement?

Wan Aeidil : Yes, but he agreed and was satisfied with what I had recorded at that time.

The hearing continues on Thursday. - Bernama

source : thestar

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