Saturday March 23, 2013
Sosilawati case reaching closure
By NURBAITI HAMDAN
SHAH ALAM: The four accused in the murder trial of cosmetics millionaire Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and her three aides will know their fate on May 23.
Yesterday, High Court judge Justice Akhtar Tahir fixed the date to deliver his decision as the defence for the men – former lawyer N. Pathmanabhan and farm hands T. Thilaiyalagan, R. Matan, and R. Kathavarayan – closed its case after 110 days of hearing.
The defence team called its final witness, lawyer Roslie Sulle, 36, to the stand.
During the proceeding earlier, defence counsel Manjeet Singh Dhillon quizzed Roslie relating to K. Sarawanan’s guilty plea on four counts of disposing evidence.
Roslie had represented Sarawanan when he pleaded guilty at a magistrate’s court in Banting on Oct 15, 2010.
Manjeet made a demonstration where he poured ashes and chicken bones into a small bin and handed it over to Roslie.
“Now, you will ask me, what is that? And I will say to you that last night, a fight broke at my house. A Mann Singh and a Mahinder Singh (note: fictional characters named for the purpose of demonstration) were dancing and I didn’t like it so I beat them and burned them.
“I give this to you and you threw it away. And now you are charged in court. What is your offence?” he asked, to which Roslie did not answer.
Manjeet told the court that he was proving how illogical Rosli’s conduct was and that of his co-counsel Muhammad Naguib Abdul Malik and the DPP when Sarawanan was accused at the Telok Datok magistrate’s court in Banting on Oct 15, 2010.
“Can you separate Mann Singh and Mahinder Singh? You disposed Mann Singh and Mahinder Singh but you didn’t know them. How can you tell if the ashes are not of my cat or my dog?” he asked.
Roslie had said on Oct 15, 2010, that his co-counsel M. Puravelan prepared the statement of facts and he prepared the mitigation.
Cross-examined by co-counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad, he admitted that he did not obtain a social report for Sarawanan despite the accused being a young offender at the time of the offence.
Although Roslie agreed with the defence’s suggestion that he had been given a “red carpet treatment” when he was allowed to visit Sarawanan prior to being appointed to represent the accused and without the permission of the investigating officer, he denied that this was part of a conspiracy.
Sarawanan, 22, pleaded guilty to burning the victims’ bodies and another man U. Suresh, 30, admitted to throwing the ashes into Sungai Panchau. Both are currently serving time at Sungai Udang prison in Malacca.
The four accused are charged with murdering Sosilawati, 47, her driver Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44, bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, 38, and lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, at Lot 2001, Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat, Banting, between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on Aug 30, 2010.
Sosilawati and the three ot- hers were reported missing after they went to Banting for a land deal.
The four, charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, face the mandatory death sentence.
The high-profile murder trial that began on July 4, 2011, saw 108 prosecution and 30 defence witnesses, and 742 exhibits tendered.
Over 6,000 pages of notes of evidence were recorded.
High Court judge Justice Akhtar Tahir also fixed May 9 and 10 for oral submissions.