Cops grilled over blindfolds

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 23 Feb 2003

TAIPING: Defence lawyers continue to grill police witnesses in the trial-within-a-trial of the Hasleza Ishak murder trial in a bid to prove that co-accused Sabarudin Non was oppressed and promised leniency if he confessed to the crime. 

Counsel A. Thanasekharan, for Sabarudin, told Justice Mohd Noor Abdullah yesterday that the crux of his lengthy cross-examination of police witnesses was to determine the voluntariness of Sabarudin's confession. 

Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, counsel for another accused, also took the same line of questioning by asking Det Kpl Ngah Abdul Rahman Razali if Sabarudin was made to lompat (jump) across a non-existent drain while blindfolded like in the comedy movie “Ali Baba Bujang Lapuk.” 

Det Kpl Ngah said that although Sabarudin was blindfolded and barefooted when he was escorted from the Perak police headquarters to the nearby courthouse in Ipoh to give his confession on Oct 16, nobody made fun of him (Sabarudin). 

He agreed with Shafee that there was no provision in the lock-up rules that allowed a suspect to be blindfolded at any time. 

He denied that he and several other police personnel had tried to fool Sabarudin by telling him they were taking him to the zoo as there was no zoo in Ipoh. 

Another witness, L/Kpl Ahmad Shukri Ali, who was stationed at the Special Branch lock-up in the police headquarters where Sabarudin and four other co-accused were detained, said all of them were blindfolded every time they were moved in or out of the lock-up. 

Justice Mohd Noor ordered the trial-within-a-trial following Thanasekharan's objection to Sabarudin's confession. 

On Friday, Chief Insp Wan Razani Wan Iberahim, who took Sabarudin to the court for his confession, testified that he was blindfolded so that he would not be identified by the public. 

Sabarudin, a 34-year-old carpenter, is jointly charged with fisherman J. Manimaran, 27, with murdering the Raja di-Hilir Perak's second wife 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. 

Another accused, padi farmer Mat Saad Isa, 50, had since admitted to a reduced charge of causing Hasleza's death and is now serving a 14-year jail term for the offence.  

The trial continues tomorrow.  

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