Dispute over maths formula

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 07 Nov 2007

SHAH ALAM: A mathematical formula to calculate a circle’s area – pi r square – became the topic of dispute at the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial. 

The formula, commonly used by secondary school students, turned up when chemist Shaari Desa was asked to dismantle the firing pin of a Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun, measure its diameter and calculate the surface area of the pin’s circular end. 

However, Shaari – the head of the Chemistry Department’s firearms and tool marks unit in the criminalistics section – replied that he did not know the formula. 

“I’m not very good at mathematics,” the 40th prosecution witness sheepishly said on Day 55 of the trial. 

Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, counsel for Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar, read out the formula to Shaari but DPP Noorin Badaruddin interjected and asked the lawyer where he had sourced it from. 

“This is from a ballistics textbook. It’s a formula for the area of a surface,” the lawyer replied. 

At this juncture, Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin told the lawyer that this was just his own contention and that the witness himself did not know the formula. 

He later called for a break and told the parties to sort out the matter. 

When the proceedings resumed, Ahmad Zaidi said he would continue with other questions before moving back to the calculations, if necessary. 

In the end, he decided not to go back to the calculations after Shaari agreed with his contention that it was possible for the markings on several bullets to be slightly different even though they were fired from a single firearm. 

Re-examined by DPP Noorin, the witness explained that although there could be slight differences between the markings on such bullets, the major characteristic markings would always remain on the bullet cartridges. 

“These markings can be clearly seen with the aid of a microscope, but not with the naked eye,” Shaari said. 

CyberSecurity Malaysia (formerly known as National ICT Security and Emergency Response – Niser) senior digital forensics analyst Mohd Zabri Aidil Talib said he was asked to analyse a surveillance camera footage captured at the Kota Damansara toll plaza. 

He said the vehicle he was instructed to look out for was a Suzuki Jimny jeep with the registration number CAC 1883 that belonged to Kpl Sirul Azhar. 

He continues his testimony today. 

In the dock, Unit Tindakan Khas (Special Action Squad) operatives C/Insp Azilah Hadri, 31, and Kpl Sirul Azhar, 36, are charged with murdering 28-year-old Altantuya between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 last year in Mukim Bukit Raja, Shah Alam. 

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 47, is accused of abetting them in Kuala Lumpur between 9.54am on Oct 18 and 9.45pm on Oct 19.  

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