KUALA LUMPUR: A police officer covered the naked body of Noritta Samsuddin with a comforter as a mark of respect for the dead, a police photographer told the High Court here yesterday.
L/Kpl Samsudin Shatar, from the photo unit of the Brickfields district police station, said that senior investigating officer Asst Supt Sharul Lalli Masduki had removed the comforter that was originally covering the victim as evidence.
“ASP Sharul, however, placed another comforter on the deceased as a form of respect while I took other photographs,” he said when testifying at the murder trial of former Shah Alam city council engineer Hanif Basree Abdul Rahman, 37.
When cross-examined by lead defence counsel V. Sithambaram, the photographer said he had earlier entered the room and saw Noritta’s body, but had waited for about an hour in the living room until ASP Sharul Lalli gave him further instructions.
To another question, he said that ASP Sharul Lalli and a policeman from the Forensics Department had tagged the scene before he took the photographs.
He said he took photographs of Noritta exactly how her body was found lying on the mattress in her room.
L/Kpl Samsudin, who was the prosecution’s ninth witness, said he met two other occupants – a male and a female – on that day.
He said he was instructed again by ASP Sharul Lalli on Feb 24 to go back to the condominium to take more photographs.
Earlier, before the proceedings started, Hanif, clad in a blue striped shirt and black pants, was brought to the courtroom by prison escorts at 9am. He was warmly greeted by his mother, Che Norkiah Che Mahari, who was seated in the public gallery.
Hanif, with a broad smile, told his mother that his shirt had been stained with sambal and photographers had a field day taking photos of him. An unidentified female relative then took a handkerchief and tried to wipe the stains off.
Shortly later, Hanif’s wife Noradiah Mohamed walked into the courtroom, sat arm-in-arm with him and spent a few minutes chatting before court proceedings began.
His wife, a defence witness, will have to spend time outside the court during the proceedings until she is called to give her testimony.
Eight of Noritta’s family members, including her 19-year-old sister Safinaz, were also in court, occupying two rows of seats in the already packed public gallery.
The next prosecution witness was the condominium’s security guard, Suzaki Supok, 24, who gave a lengthy explanation of the screening process for visitors and the method used to register their particulars.
At one point, the court broke into laughter when Suzaki admitted that he would just allow anyone into the condominium.
Examined by lead prosecutor DPP Stanley Augustin, Suzaki said if condominium owners accompanied visitors, he would not register their particulars.
“If the visitors are not accompanied, we intercom the owners and ask for clearance,” he said, adding that owners informed the guardhouse about visitors most of the time.
Replying to DPP Augustin, he said the guards asked visitors to call owners on mobile phones if they were not expected.
“I recognise most of the owners' voices and ask if I can allow their visitors to go up,” he said.
To a question, he said he asked for details of non-regular visitors and kept their identity cards before allowing them to enter with a visitor pass.
On the first day of the hearing, eight witnesses were called, including Noritta’s close friend Lim Sin Kean Child’s who testified that he had a “very, very close” relationship with her, but did not have sex with her.
Lim admitted paying some of her expenses, giving her duit raya of RM1,000 and seeing her about 50 times in their less than five-month acquaintance.
Hearing before Justice Abdull Hamid Embong will continue on Monday.