Judge rejects farmer's confession

  • Nation
  • Friday, 21 Feb 2003


TAIPING: High Court Justice Mohd Noor Abdullah decided to disallow the confession of Mat Saad Isa, a co-accused turned prosecution witness in the Hasleza Ishak murder case yesterday. 

The judge ruled that the confession was inadmissible after reflecting that the decision would satisfy both justice and the law. 

This is believed to be the first case in the country in which the prosecution has sought to introduce a confession made by an accused person who has turned prosecution witness. 

Before making his ruling, the judge said justice would be served if he was given the opportunity to properly evaluate what Mat Saad had said in his testimony and compare it with what he had said in his confession on Oct 15. 

“But then again, justice is according to the law and not according to one’s feelings,” he said, adding that he was bound by the law, such as the Evidence Act. 

Justice Mohd Noor agreed with the defence’s submission that where the law was silent, or if the court were to err, it should be in favour of the accused. 

He decided not to admit the confession mainly because there was no authority or precedent, which allowed the confession (of an accused turned witness). 

He further ruled that there were sufficient materials, such as omissions, contradictions and discrepancies, in Mat Saad’s testimony for the court to evaluate his credibility despite the absence of the confession from the trial. 

Mat Saad, a 50-year-old padi farmer, is now serving a 14-year jail term after admitting to a lesser charge of causing the death of Hasleza, the Raja di-Hilir Perak’s second wife. 

He was testifying in the trial of carpenter Sabarudin Non, 34, and fisherman J. Manimaran, 27, both from Tanjung Piandang, who are jointly charged with murdering Hasleza, 26, between 6pm and 11pm at the 63rd kilometre, Jalan Sumpitan, in the Larut Matang and Selama district here on Oct 6, last year. 

Bomoh Rahim Ismail, 47, from Tanjung Piandang, and palace aide Tengku Aristonsjah Tengku Mohamad Ansary, 41, from Kamunting, are being jointly tried for abetting the murder. 

Murder and its abetment carry a mandatory death sentence upon conviction. 

Others who testified yesterday were Sabarudin’s cousin who had lent him his motorcycle; a doctor and his assistant who had taken blood samples for DNA profiling; a police officer who had handled the blood specimens and a former bodyguard of the Perak Mentri Besar. 

DPP Nordin Hassan informed the court that the prosecution would attempt to admit Sabarudin’s confession, when the trial continues today.  

The Hasleza murder trial  

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