Bound for trial: Asni being led into the courtroom by policemen.
KUANTAN: Trader Asni Omar will enter his defence against a charge of murdering a French tourist some three years ago.
Asni chose to take the witness stand after the High Court here ruled that the prosecution had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against him.
Justice Mariana Yahya fixed trial for two weeks from April 28 to May 9.
Justice Mariana said that the evidence adduced by the prosecution revealed that the deceased was last seen in Tioman before she went missing and that some of the victim’s belongings were later recovered from Asni’s home.
The judge also noted that a liquor bottle, which was a possible murder weapon, and forensic findings like DNA samples were also some of the other evidence adduced by the prosecution which supported the prima facie case against Asni.
She said blood stains and other personal belongings retrieved clearly showed that the deceased was present in the house of the accused.
“There was some evidence damaged by floods, not due to negligence of the police but as a result of an unforeseen natural disaster,” Justice Mariana said.
“The evidence adduced is very material and does not affect the credibility of the prosecution case,” she added.
Asni, 39, was charged with murdering Stephanie Foray, 30, at an unnumbered house in Kampung Tekek, Pulau Tioman, between 8pm on May 10 and noon on May 12, 2011.
The charge under Section 302 of the Penal Code carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction.
Clad in a short sleeve shirt, a sweater and a pair of jeans, the accused was calm and composed when the 41-page judgment was read out for almost two hours.
Lawyer Amy Ling held a watching brief for the deceased’s family.
The deceased’s mother Irene Mortel, who arrived on Thursday evening, attended the proceedings.
She broke down after the judgment and vowed to return to Malaysia again to attend the trial.
Also present were French embassy consul Stephanie Rouville and press attache Remi Yahya Ishmael.