TAIPING: Carpenter Sabarudin Non, a co-accused in the murder trial of the Raja di-Hilir Perak's second wife Hasleza Ishak, was in tears when giving his confession to a magistrate last Oct 16, the High Court heard yesterday.
Ipoh-based magistrate Al Muhammad Mukmin Abdul Ghani testified during cross-examination at a trial-within-a-trial that he was so shocked by Sabarudin's tears that he forgot to record this on Sabarudin's written confession.
“At that time, I was stunned because he started crying in front of me and the situation was a bit tense. I forgot to record this and was only aware after going back to my office. By then, nothing could be done about that,” said Mukmin.
Justice Mohd Noor Abdullah had ordered the trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissibility of the confession, following an objection by Sabarudin's counsel A.Thanasekharan.
Mukmin said that Sabarudin was brought before him at about 2.35pm on Oct 16.
“After the police officers uncuffed his hands and left the room, I asked him to remove his T-shirt so that I could see if there were any signs of injury. I found no injuries and he also told me that he had not been injured below the waist.
“I asked him if anyone had threatened or beaten him, promised him anything, or coerced or induced him to make the confession, and he said no,” he added.
He summed up that the confession was made voluntarily without coercion, threat, inducement, injury or promise.
“I did not at any time tell him that his sentence would be lighter if he confessed,” he said, adding that the entire procedure lasted about two hours.
Mukmin said that after the confession was recorded and signed, Sabarudin told him that he needed to get a lenient sentence because his wife was not working and they had five children.
“He told me 'benda dah terjadi, menyesal pun tak berguna' (it is useless to cry over spilt milk) and asked for my kindness.”
Cross-examined by Thanasekharan, Mukmin said he did not explain to Sabarudin that he was a magistrate and not a judge because he did not consider it an issue. He said the general public's perception was that a magistrate was a judge of the magistrate's court.
Mukmin said he did not have the power to reduce Sabarudin's sentence, and agreed with Thanasekharan that he should have told Sabarudin this.
Cross-examined by Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Mukmin said Sabarudin was blindfolded when brought to court because he believed the police wanted to preserve Sabarudin's dignity as he was only a suspect then.
Under re-examination by DPP Shahidani Abdul Aziz, Mukmin explained that the confession was recorded in a meeting room at the Ipoh High Court instead of in his own chambers for the sake of security. He said the case had generated a lot of public interest.
Sabarudin, 34, and fisherman J. Manimaran, 27, both from Tanjung Piandang, are jointly charged with murdering Hasleza, 26, between 6pm and 11pm at Km63 of Jalan Sumpitan, in the Larut Matang and Selama district here on Oct 6 last year.
They are jointly tried with bomoh Rahim Ismail, 47, from Tanjung Piandang, and palace aide Tengku Aristonsjah Tengku Mohamad Ansary, 41, from Kamunting, who are charged with abetting the murder.
Murder and its abetment carry a mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
The trial-within-a-trial continues today.
The other DPPs are Nordin Hassan, Chew Soo Ho and Masri Mohd Daud.
Sabarudin and Manimaran are represented by Thanasekharan and N. Ahilan, Rahim by Gurbachan Singh and Amrit Pal Singh, and Tengku Aristonsjah by Muhammad Shafee and M. Kirubanandan.