I did my best for Azilah in Altantuya murder trial, lawyer says
PETALING JAYA: The lead counsel of former policeman Azilah Hadri today maintained that he had always acted in the best interest of his client throughout the murder trial of Mongolian citizen Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Hazman Ahmad said he had acted on Azilah’s instructions and advanced all defences available during the trial.
“A counsel cannot act on his own or else he can be sued,” he added.
“I would have discharged myself, or Azilah could have engaged another lawyer if we were unhappy with the contractual relationship,” he said in response to Azilah’s sworn statement that former prime minister Najib Razak had ordered the death of Altantuya.
Azilah, who was convicted of murdering Altantuya with his partner Sirul Azhar Umar, issued a statutory declaration (SD) as part of an application in the Federal Court last week for a review of his case.
He is seeking to have his conviction set aside and a fresh trial held.
In his SD, Azilah said, among others, that Altantuya’s former lover Abdul Razak Baginda and senior police officer Musa Safri were aware of the “instructions” from Najib.
Razak was acquitted of Altantuya’s murder while Najib has strongly denied allegations of his involvement.
Hazman, who was assisted in the case by lawyer J Kuldeep Kumar all the way to the Federal Court, said he could not reveal more as he was bound by client-lawyer privilege under the Evidence Act.
Hazman is still on record to represent Azilah before the Selangor Pardons Board in an effort to commute the latter’s death sentence to a prison term.
Kuldeep, meanwhile, is acting independently to appear for Azilah in the review application scheduled for hearing on April 20 next year.
Lawyer A Srimurugan opined that Azilah’s statement was not enough to constitute fresh evidence in the bid for review.
“The applicant or others related to the case have to offer additional material for the court’s consideration,” he said.
At this point, he added, the SD would only be useful for the police in beginning a fresh investigation into the case.
“Perhaps the then-inspector-general of police and the attorney-general holding office when the murder took place should be questioned,” he said.
Azilah Hadri’s trial lawyer says still working on pardon for Altantuya murder, not part of apex court review bid
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Former police commando Azilah Hadri’s application for a royal pardon for his conviction over the 2006 murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu is still awaiting a decision, his lawyer said today.
Datuk Hazman Ahmad, who represented Azilah in the murder trial at the High Court and in subsequent appeals at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, also clarified today that he is only the lawyer for Azilah in the pardon application.
Hazman said he does not know who is representing Azilah in the latter’s application for the Federal Court to review its 2015 decision to uphold his conviction and death sentence.
“As far as I am concerned, for the pardon papers, yes, I was never discharged. For the review, I have no idea,” he told Malay Mail when contacted today.
Hazman confirmed that he has not spoken to Azilah after news reports yesterday of the latter’s statutory declaration — which contained shocking allegations on Altantuya’s murder — in support of the review application.
“It was done without my knowledge. I presume he wants to engage another lawyer,” he said of the review application.
As for the pardon application filed in January 2016, Hazman said the last communication from the Selangor Pardons Board was months after that, when it asked for further evidence to support the request.
“There is no decision yet by the pardons board,” he said, confirming that the pardons board could either decide on its own or could also call for Azilah’s lawyers to present their case.
In 2015, the Federal Court reversed the Court of Appeal’s acquittal of Azilah and former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar, reinstating the High Court’s conviction and mandatory death sentence on the duo over Altantuya’s murder.
Azilah has been on death row in Malaysian prisons since then, while Sirul did not show up in court for the Federal Court decision and was later found in Australia where he is believed to remain under detention by Australian authorities until today.
In Azilah’s October 2019 statutory declaration which was released yesterday in full by news portal Malaysiakini, the former police Special Action Unit (UTK) officer claimed that Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the then deputy prime minister had in 2006 allegedly given him the orders to kill Altantuya and dispose of her body with explosives.
Najib has however dismissed Azilah’s claims as a “complete fabrication” and maintained his innocence while also welcoming police investigations into the allegations.
Azilah’s review application is fixed for case management at the Federal Court today.