Court accepts confession


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003

BY CHELSEA L.Y. NG AND PRISCILLA DIELENBERG

TAIPING: The High Court hearing the Hasleza Ishak murder trial has ruled that accused Sabarudin Non made a voluntary confession while in police custody. 

After a trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissibility of Sabarudin’s testimony, Justice Mohd Noor Abdullah said all the police involved in interrogating and escorting Sabarudin had denied his claim of being oppressed into making the confession. 

He said he believed the testimony of magistrate Al Muhammad Mukmin Abdul Ghani who recorded the confession last Oct 16, saying he “had no inclination to be a partisan.” 

“The magistrate was honest. He did not take sides. I believe his testimony that he had read to Sabarudin all the amendments he had made before they signed on the last page (of the confession document.) 

“I do not fault him for making the amendments which did not affect the format of the confession,” he said. 

The judge also observed that life in jail was not as comfortable as home. 

He said he doubted that factors such as lack of sleep, starvation and being asked to wear someone else’s smelly clothes had caused Sabarudin to confess. 

Justice Mohd Noor then adjourned the proceedings to tomorrow to allow Sabarudin’s lawyers to get further instructions from their client. 

Sabarudin, 34, is jointly charged with fisherman J. Manimaran, 27, with the murder of 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. 

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 the mandatory death sentence upon conviction. 

All four were originally on trial together with padi farmer Mat Saad Isa, 50, who had since admitted to a reduced charge of causing Hasleza’s death and is now serving a 14-year jail term for the offence. He has since turned prosecution witness. 

Earlier, Sabarudin’s counsel A. Thanasekharan said there was no case to answer even after 10 witnesses had testified in the prosecution’s case. 

He urged the court to consider his client’s state of mind in that Sabarudin was constantly thinking that he would get a lenient sentence if he were to confess. 

He argued that Sabarudin had been blindfolded and this amounted to oppression which “saps a person’s freewill,” leading him to confess. 

Counsel Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said Sabarudin had not been treated humanely or given his basic needs under the Federal Constitution such as the right to a lawyer upon arrest. 

He said Sabarudin was deprived of clean clothes and, therefore, could not perform his prayers. 

DPP Shahidani Abdul Aziz submitted that Sabarudin had to wear other people’s clothes as his had been sent to the chemist department for analysis. 

“Although smelly, they were still bearable,” he said. 

DPP Nordin Hassan said the complaints about starvation, being blindfolded and wearing smelly clothes were all side issues which did not lead to Sabarudin’s confession. 

This was the second confession that the prosecution had sought to admit to the trial. The court had on Thursday disallowed Mat Saad’s confession.  


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