KUALA LUMPUR: The Shah Alam city council engineer who was charged in the lower court on Monday with the murder of 22-year-old accounts executive Noritta Samsudin, claimed trial when the case was transferred to the High Court yesterday.
Garbed in the same dark coloured collared T-shirt he wore when he made his first appearance in a magistrate’s courtroom this week after having been remanded since Dec 9, Hanif Basree Abdul Rahman was seen bending down slightly and telling an interpreter his plea in a soft tone after the charge was read out to him.
The interpreter then informed the court that he had claimed trial.
Hanif Basree, 36, whose height was a towering 188cm (6ft 3in), had his handcuffs removed while making his plea in the dock on the order of Justice Abdul Kadir.
His family members, who included his parents and wife, watched quietly from the public gallery.
Earlier, before he was put in the dock, Hanif Basree’s family members were allowed to mingle with him. With his hands cuffed, he was seen kissing his mother’s forearm affectionately while she hugged him tightly.
His wife, who was also given a chance to sit by his side in the gallery before he was taken into the dock, stole a chance to stroke his cheek before she was asked to sit further away from him.
Hanif Basree is alleged to have committed the murder at No D-7-1, Puncak Prima Galleria Condominium, Jalan 17, Sri Hartamas, between 1.30am and 4am on Dec 5.
When he was charged in the magistrate’s court on Monday, no plea was recorded pending yesterday’s transfer of proceedings to Justice Abdul Kadir’s court.
Noting that the case involved a public servant, Justice Abdul Kadir set the case for trial from May 5-28, the earliest dates available in that court.
“I have to compromise between clearing the backlog of pre-2000 cases before June and this kind of case, which involves a civil servant.
“We will try our level best to clear by June but immediately after that, I will put your case as the first one after the June deadline. We go in line with what the LP (Chief Justice) said about clearing cases so that those whose cases are old will not think that theirs are being sidelined,” Justice Abdul Kadir.
(Chief Justice Tan Sri Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim announced recently that courts nationwide would try to dispose of cases filed before the year 2000 by June and that he would tour the country to ensure the campaign’s success.)
Hanif Basree’s lead counsel V. Sitthambaram later asked for copies of the post-mortem results, DNA profiling and the report submitted by the government chemists to be made available to the defence but was told by DPP Ahmad Bache to write in to the prosecution.
Sitthambaram told reporters that he would be writing in to the Attorney-General’s chambers on Monday.