Ex-department head defends guards


SPOUSE: Hanif's wife Noradiah Mohamed was at the courthouse too.

KUALA LUMPUR: The former chief of Puncak Prima Condominium security department vehemently denied that his men, who were doing their rounds on the morning of Dec 5, last year, could have harmed marketing executive Noritta Samsudin. 

“I disagree because I trust my men,” K. Thanabalan, 56, told accused Hanif Basree Abdul Rahman’s lead counsel V. Sithambaram. 

Sithambaram then continued to cross-examine Thanabalan on the statement he gave police about seeing Noritta and Hanif on the day of the murder. 

Q: I put it to you that your earlier statements, which you gave voluntarily to the police before your arrest, that you did not see the accused with Noritta on Dec 5 last year, was the truth. 

A: Both the statements are not true. 

Q: I put it to you that you are a normal human being and you will do anything to save your skin to get out of a difficult situation, including falsely fabricating evidence against Hanif?  

A: I cannot answer. 

Thanabalan, the prosecution’s 11th witness, denied that he had fabricated his evidence, that he saw Hanif at 1am on Dec 5. 

To a question by DPP Stanley Augustin later, as to why he (Thanabalan) replied “I do not know” when asked by a senior police officer to identify Hanif from a photograph, Thanabalan said: “Because I was scared. Maybe if I said yes, something may happen to me.” 

Q: Then why did you say yes later? 

Thanabalan: 'I panicked after seeing Noritta's body'

A: Because I want to tell the truth. 

Q: In your testimony you said you saw Hanif and Noritta at 1am on Dec 5, is it the truth? 

A: Yes. 

Q: Did anyone tell you to say this in court? 

A: No.  

Q: Are you lying in court? 

A: I am telling the truth. 

Q: Would you gain anything by not telling the truth? 

A: No. 

At the outset of the re-examination yesterday, Thanabalan said he could not remember why he did not tell the police, while his statement was being recorded on Dec 19, that he saw Hanif and Noritta on the day of the murder. 

This prompted DPP Augustin to ask Thanabalan if he wanted to see part of the statement to refresh his memory. 

Sithambaram objected saying that it would be total injustice if it was allowed. 

Justice Abdull Hamid Embong rejected the application.  

Coming back to the scene of the crime, Thanabalan was asked why he failed to inform the police if he claimed to have seen Hanif on the day of the murder. 

“I panicked after seeing Noritta’s body.  

“I was also unable to speak nicely,” he said, adding that he tried his best to look out for anyone running out of the condominium on the morning of the murder. 

Earlier during cross-examination by Sithambaram, Thanabalan agreed that he did not see anyone running out of the main entrance of the condominium. 

Q: Did you find it strange that Nor Azora Abdul Hamid (Noritta’s housemate) told you that someone had ran past you and that you did not see the person? 

A: Yes. 

Q: In fact, her statement was not true when she said someone ran past the main gate. 

A: Yes, it’s not true. 

Q: Yesterday (Wednesday) you told the court you saw (Noritta’s housemate Kenneth) Yap loosening the “thing” around Noritta’s neck. What was he untying? 

A: Yes, I saw him untying something but I do not know what it was. 

Sithambaram told Thanabalan the reason he asked the question was because the post-mortem did not show any strangulation marks. 

Thanabalan said he saw that Noritta’s hands were tied at the back but did not know what was used to tie her hands. 

To another question, Thanabalan said he did not notice if there was a pillow under Noritta’s buttocks after Yap removed her blanket. 

Q: Did you ask Yap and Nor Azora for the description of the assailant?  

A: I panicked and did not ask. 

Q: Did they give you a description of the person. 

A: No. 

The hearing continues on Monday.  

Related Stories:Guard: I heard a scream ‘Hanif usually left condo alone’ Guard: They were like lovers Witness: Cop covered body DPP: It was a crime of passion Receptionist tells court about death threat in letter Noritta case hearing set for Thursday Finn sues papers for defamation Accused in Noritta case withdraws application Broker sues papers for portraying him as prime murder suspect Noritta murder accused claims trial Council officer accused of Noritta’s murder 

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