Israeli 'hitman' case: Court sets Sept 30 for arms trafficking trial to begin

(File picture) Shalom Avitan, alleged Israeli "hitman", being escorted into the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex on April 12 where he was charged with firearms trafficking and ammunition possession. — Photo: CHAN TAK KONG/ The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sessions Court here has fixed a nine-day trial in the case of 38-year-old Israeli, Avitan Shalom, who is accused of trafficking six firearms and possessing 200 bullets.

Sessions Court judge Norina Zainol Abidin fixed Sept 30, Oct 1 - 3, and Oct 7 - 11, for trial when the case was brought for mention here on Tuesday (May 21).

The case is also fixed for further mention on June 28.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P Kunyalam told the court that the prosecution would be calling 20 witnesses.

"Witness statements will be prepared," the DPP said.

The prosecution also amended several details on the two charge sheets; from 158 to 200 bullets and the serial numbers of the firearms involving Glock and Stoeger Cougar.

The amended charge sheets were then read out to Avitan who pleaded not guilty.

Earlier, Avitan's lawyer Navinjit Singh told the judge that his client's name was wrongly recorded on the charge sheet as "Avitan Shalom".

"When the accused entered this country, he used a French passport. The name that appears on the passport is 'Shalom Avitan' and not 'Avitan Shalom'.

"'Avitan Shalom' could be someone else," Navinjit said.

DPP Mohamad Mustaffa said the prosecution had referred to the French passport and had no intention to amend the name on the charge sheet at this juncture.

"It is clearly stated in the passport that the surname is Avitan and the given name is Shalom.

"In some jurisdictions, they may refer to the surname as first name, and the given name as the second name.

"It's just a matter of style but we are referring to the same document," he said.

Navinjit said the defence stood by their contention on the naming convention.

"We are afraid this small mistake might influence the court," he added.

Norina said the court took note of the objection and asked parties to make submissions on the issue later during the trial.

On April 12, the 38-year-old Israeli claimed trial to two firearms-related charges.

For the first charge, he was accused of having ammunition in his possession without permit.

The ammunition are one Shell Shock NAS3 box containing eight bullets, three Bullet Master Co. Ltd. boxes containing 50 bullets each, and 42 bullets in three different firearms.

The charge is framed under Section 8(a) of the Arms Act 1960 and carries imprisonment of up to seven years or fine of up to RM10,000 or both, if convicted.

For the second charge, Avitan allegedly trafficked six firearms; Glock 19 USA 9x19; Sig Sauer P3205P ; Cougar 8000FT; Glock 17 Gen4 Austria 9x19; M&P 9C Smith & Wesson Springfield MA USA and Stoeger Cougar 8000F.

The charge under Section 7(1) of the Firearms(Increased Penalties) Act 1971 and carries imprisonment of between 30 and 40 years, and with whipping of no less than six strokes, upon conviction.

Avitan allegedly committed the offence at a hotel room along Jalan Ampang between 6.46pm on March 26 and 6pm on March 28.

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