Wednesday, May 27

Armed man in Semporna Town was sultan’s nephew, court told

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KOTA KINABALU: A police volunteer chief told the High Court here that the armed man who had stared at him fiercely when he was in Semporna Town on March 1, 2013, was the nephew of the self-styled Sulu Sultan III, the late Datu Jamalul Kiram.

Sergeant Mohd Ghadafe Mohd Lipai yesterday pointed out that Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, who was in the dock, was the man who had stared at him when he was in town with his kids to buy something at a shop there.

Under examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mad Yusoff, the 41th witness told Justice Stephen Chung that he could still remember the face of the said man.

When asked by Mohd Ishak: “Could you identify the man that you said was staring at you on that day?”

Witness: “Yes.”

Mohd Ghadafe then stood up from the witness stand and approached the accused dock, looking at all the accused persons one by one.

He then pointed Datu Amirbahar, who is the 20th accused in this case.

Datu Amirbahar was seen smiling and stood up to show himself while the judge took a look at him.

Earlier, the witness testified that on March 1, 2013 at about 10.45am, he came out from his car and helped his child, who was sitting at the back, out from the same car, and saw the man (Datu Amirbahar) in front, staring at him (Mohd Ghadafe).

“My kids and I proceeded to a shop and at that time there were seven people there. Occasionally, I would turn back to look at the man who stared at me, and he was still doing the same action,” he said.

In recalling the moment, the witness said he was holding his kids with both his hands while queueing at the shop for about 15 minutes to pay, while the man in dark shirt kept staring at him.

Mohd Ghadafe, who went to the town in police uniform, testified that he noticed that the man was carrying a scabbard bag on his left shoulder.

“At that time, our distance was about 50 meters but when I came out from the shop, I saw the man standing about 30 meters away from my car,” he said.

He then asked permission from the court to react the scene in court on how the man had stared at him and how the man moved from one place to another, closer to his car.

When the court allowed him to do it, he stood up and said: “He stared at me like this ( he showed a fierce look), as if I had debts with him.”

The people in court then laughed.

To a question by Ishak, he said he was shocked as the man had come nearer to his car. He then rushed to his car with his kids.

“My kids and I entered my car and I called the Semporna police station. At the same time, I saw another two men behind the man who has stared at me, like the three of them were in one team,” he further said.

He also testified that the three of them moved in a triangular position with the man who had stared at him, in front.

“Not long after that, the two men went, I did not know where; only the man who was still looking at me was there; he was at the left side of my car looking at me fiercely.

“As he was coming nearer to my car, I saw him pull his scabbard bag and I saw an M-16 rifle inside it,” he recalled.

To another question by Ishak, the witness said the man was standing in a static position at the end row of shops as he could see him through the car outside mirror.

“At that time I already started my car engine and I also saw the position of the scabbard bag had changed. I could not drive to the front, so I reversed my car when suddenly the two men I saw earlier were there too. One was near a bank while the other one was near another shop, with the man who had stared at me in front of my car. They were in a triangular position,” said Mohd Ghadafe.

He also said he then drove past the man who was still staring him. He honked his car and raised his hand at the man but that man did not respond.

“When I drove my car, I also saw the other man holding a silver- coloured pistol on his right hand but he did not point it at me,” he said.

When asked by Ishak: “Could you identify the other two men?”

Witness: “No”.

Mohd Ghadafe was testifying against 29 men and a woman charged with committing terrorism activities at several places in Lahad Datu, Semporna, Kunak and Sandakan between February 12 and April 10, 2013.

They are liable to the mandatory death sentence while the rest provide for life imprisonment and a fine, upon conviction.

The trial was held in a hall which doubled as an open court at Kepayan prisons here under tight security checks by the prison and police personnel.

The trial continues today.