PUTRAJAYA: Former police Special Action Unit personnel Sirul Azhar Umar, who was convicted for Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder, filed an application to the Court of Appeal here yesterday seeking for his acquittal, claiming there was a mistrial by the Shah Alam High Court.
A notice of motion filed by legal firm The Chambers of Kamarul Hisham and Hasnal Rezua at the Court of Appeal registry here was in an attempt to include additional grounds of appeal.
In the application, former Corporal Sirul Azhar claimed that he was exposed to extensive ‘adverse publicity’ during the trial which was misleading and prejudicial to him, thus denying him a fair trial.
He is seeking for the Court of Appeal to declare the trial a mistrial, his conviction be set aside and he be set free.
Sirul Azhar, 39, claimed the adverse publicity he received had caused a probability that the high court judge was biased, rendering his conviction unsafe.
Sirul Azhar claimed he was exposed to adverse publicity through three statutory declarations, two made by private investigator the late P. Balasubramaniam and one by Raja Petra Kamarudin.
He said Balasubramaniam’s first statutory declaration, made after the prosecution closed its case on June 23, 2008, contained matters prejudicial to him as those matters were not disclosed in his (Balasubramaniam’s) testimony at the trial.
He said Balasubramaniam had, on July 4, 2008, made another statutory declaration stating that he was withdrawing his first statutory declaration.
Sirul Azhar said the declarations were extensively uploaded in various websites and had been the subject of various speculation, debate and extensive commentaries from the general public, legal practitioners and leaders which were interpreted as questioning the veracity and authenticity of the declarations.
He said the principal questions hovering in the minds of readers having access to the materials would be, “What prompted the appellants to kill the victim” and “Who gave instructions to have the killing carried out by the appellants”.
Sirul Azhar said Raja Petra had, on June 21, 2008, uploaded the latter’s statutory declaration on an Internet website stating that three other people were also present when the victim was killed, which was interpreted to mean that he (Sirul Azhar) was the killer.
He claimed Raja Petra had also uploaded a copy of a caution statement believed to be his (Sirul Azhar’s) stating that he (Sirul Azhar) had admitted to killing the Mongolian woman.
Sirul Azhar and former chief inspector Azilah Hadri were found guilty and sentenced to death by the Shah Alam High Court in 2009 for killing Altantuya, then 28, at Mukim Bukit Raja in Shah Alam between 10 pm on Oct 19, 2006 and 1 am on Oct 20, 2006.
Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who was charged with abetting them, was acquitted by the High Court on Oct 31, 2008 after the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against him.
Their appeal against their conviction and death sentence is scheduled to be heard by the Court of Appeal on June 10.
Sirul Azhar’s lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamarudin said a copy of the notice of motion would be served to the prosecution. —Bernama