CRIMINAL LAW: Penal Code - Section 302 - Murder - Common intention - Whether established - Whether combination of surrounding circumstances proved ingredients of offence - Diversity of evidence - Whether part of evidence consistent with prosecution's evidence - Whether defence raised reasonable doubt on prosecution's case

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: Prosecution - Undertaking - Whether High Court bound by prosecution's undertaking not to use record of lower court proceedings as evidence - Whether record of lower court proceedings admissible in High Court to show witness was lying - Whether lower court's record corroborated guilt of accused - Evidence Act 1950, s. 11

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: Accused - Testimony by more than one accused - Diversity of evidence between accused persons - Whether part of evidence consistent with prosecution's evidence - Whether prosecution confined to parameters of opening statement when leading evidence - Criminal Procedure Code, s. 179(1)

[CRIMINAL APPEALS NO: 45A-53, 54, 55, 56-2011]
26 JUNE 2013

The four accused in this case (`A1, A2, A3 and A4') were charged, in furtherance of their common intention, with the murder of a woman (`Sosilawati'), her driver, a lawyer (`Kamil') and a banker (`Noorhisham') (collectively referred to as `Sosilawati and company') on a farm in Banting, Selangor, between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on 30 August 2010. A1, a lawyer, owned the farm (`the farm') while A2, A3 and A4 were his farm hands. A1 had dealings with Sosilawati over certain land transactions. The prosecution's evidence revealed that on 30 August 2010, after informing her daughter that she was going to meet A1 in Banting concerning certain cheques he had issued, Sosilawati left with her driver in her car with Kamil and Noorhisham accompanying them in a separate car. Cellphone calls by Sosilawati and company to their family and friends during their journey alluded to the fact that they were heading towards Banting. Data obtained from cellphone service providers showed that the last calls made by the group came from the area where the farm was located. After 8.30pm, all calls from Sosilawati and company to their family and friends ceased and all attempts to contact them also failed. The following day, family members lodged missing-persons' reports with the police. Acting on all available evidence, the police arrested A2, A3, A4 and two others, ie, SP29 and SP59. Information extracted from them led the police to discover that Sosilawati and company were murdered on the farm, their bodies burnt and the ashes disposed of, their cellphones and watches discarded into a nearby river and the cars they had used were abandoned at two different locations in another township. From the farm and its surrounding areas, the police recovered a blood-stained cricket bat, bones buried in an area where burning had taken place, blood-stained zinc sheets and burnt logs. Samples of blood stains were taken on some of the walls on the farm. Although DNA analysis could not be done on the recovered bones because of their condition, the DNA profile taken from the blood stains on the cricket bat, zinc sheets and the walls matched those of immediate family members of Sosilawati and company. An occupant of the farm (`SP33') testified at the trial of having seen a woman and three men entering the farm on the evening of 30 August 2010; of hearing a woman scream and of seeing a huge fire at the farm later that night. SP33 also testified that a day earlier, she observed A1 and A4 making preparations on the farm for the arrival of guests and she also saw A3 and some other persons unloading logs from a lorry at the farm. During the trial, the court admitted into evidence the records of proceedings before a Magistrate's Court (exhs. `P711' and `P712') before whom SP29 and SP59 had pleaded guilty to charges of disposing of the remains of Sosilawati and company after their bodies had allegedly been burnt on the farm. However, when giving evidence in the instant trial, both SP29 and SP59 denied they had anything whatsoever to do with Sosilawati and company and claimed that they were coerced into admitting the charges in the Magistrate's Court. The prosecution successfully impeached their credit rendering their testimonies worthless. However, this did not affect the admission of P711 and P712 into evidence which corroborated other evidences that the bodies of Sosilawati and company were burnt at the farm. However, the defence objected to the admission of P711 and P712 on the ground that the prosecution undertook during the proceedings in the Magistrate's Court that it would not use the record of proceedings there in any other proceedings. The defence contended that it was precisely because the prosecution wanted to use P711 and P712 to obtain a conviction against the four accused that it allegedly conspired with the police and certain police-friendly lawyers into deceiving SP29 and SP59 into pleading guilty to the facts presented in the Magistrate's Court. The defence alleged that this was borne out by the fact that the then Deputy Head of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Kuala Lumpur Police Contingent (`SD28') had recommended to SP59's father (this was not denied by SD28) that SP29 and SP59 stood a better chance of winning in the Magistrate's Court if they engaged SD30 as their lawyer instead of the one they had originally engaged. In a surprising turn of events, A4, when called upon to enter his defence, contradicted and undermined the evidence given by the other three accused.

Held (convicting the four accused on the charges and sentencing them to death):

(1) The prosecution's evidence was sufficient to sustain the charge of murder as defined under s. 300(a) of the Penal Code. Although the bodies of the victims were not recovered, the victims left behind a trail of evidence in the form of their personal items and blood. The defence failed to raise even a fanciful possibility, let alone a reasonable doubt, to counter the prosecution's case. (paras 292 & 294)

(2) Through a combination of surrounding evidence in the form of testimony of family members, telecommunication records, testimony of credible witnesses and inferences made from the conduct of the accused in the discovery of exhibits as well as forensic and medical evidence, the prosecution had successfully proven all the ingredients of the charge of murder under s. 302 of the Penal Code to a standard which, if unexplained by the accused, would have led to their convictions. (para 189)

(3) Even if the prosecution gave any undertaking, that it would not use the record of proceedings in the Magistrate's Court in any other proceedings, the instant court was not bound by such undertaking as it was strictly given outside its purview. As it stood, the proceedings in the Magistrate's Court were not relevant but when the witnesses' testimony was inconsistent with an earlier admission of facts, the irrelevant evidence became relevant under s. 11 of the Evidence Act 1950. (paras 147, 149 & 150)

(4) P711 and P712 were admitted into evidence for the prime reason of showing that SP29 and SP59 lied in their testimony in the instant trial when they claimed that they were forced to plead guilty for offences that they had not committed. The court in no way admitted those records to prove the charges against the accused. On perusing the records, the court was satisfied that SP29 and SP59 pleaded guilty and admitted to the facts voluntarily. Hence, a reasonable inference could be made that they had actually committed the offences for which they were charged. (paras 252, 253 & 254)

(5) The only probative value of P711 and P712 was that it showed that Sosilawati and company were killed on the farm, burnt and their remains disposed of. The facts in P711 and P712 were cogent corroborative evidence against the accused but on their own were insufficient to sustain a conviction against them. (paras 264 & 267)

(6) SD28 had no ulterior motive in recommending SD30 to defend SP29 and SP59 in the Magistrate's Court although SD28 went beyond his call of duty in doing so. It would have been prudent for SD28 to have refrained from getting involved in SP29 and SP59's defence when his subordinate officers were involved in investigating the case against the duo. (para 257)

(7) The defence did not call any expert evidence to counter the expert medical and chemist evidence of the prosecution. Hence, there was no reason for the court to reject the medical evidence of the findings of human bones on the farm or the matching of the blood samples found on the zinc sheets, cricket bat and walls of the farm. The defence also failed to lead evidence to counter the data contained in the telecommunication records produced by the prosecution. Neither did A1 lead evidence to show that Sosilawati could not have possibly gone to Banting to meet him. (paras 244, 245 & 268)

(8) In the face of diversity of evidence between the accused persons, the court chose to disbelieve the evidence of A1, A2 and A3 and chose to believe that portion of A4's evidence which was consistent with the prosecution's evidence. This included evidence on the coming of Sosilawati and company to the farm, the fire being lit on the farm to burn at least three members of the group and members of Sosilawati and company were beaten on the farm on 30 August 2010. (para 227 & 228)

(9) A4's testimony that in the aftermath of the events at the farm A1 met with the other accused a number of times to pacify them showed common intention and guilty conduct of all the accused. A1's later meetings with the other accused showed that there were earlier meetings between the four accused before Sosilawati and company were killed. This strengthened the case for common intention by the four to kill and dispose of the remains of Sosilawati and company. (paras 237, 240 & 241)

(10) The prosecution's departure from its opening statement did not in any way impact its case adversely, nor did it prejudice the defence case. There was no law to confine the prosecution to the parameters of its opening statement which was a rule of procedure rather than of evidence and directory in nature rather than mandatory. (paras 284-286)

Case(s) referred to:

Ahmad Najib Aris v. PP [2007] 2 CLJ 229 CA (refd)

Balachandran v. PP [2005] 1 CLJ 85 FC (refd)

Francis Antonysamy v. PP [2005] 2 CLJ 481 FC (foll)

Gnanasegaran Pararajasingam v. PP [1997] 4 CLJ 6 CA (refd)

Goi Ching Ang v. PP [1999] 1 CLJ 829 FC (refd)

Gunalan Ramachandran & 2 Ors v. PP [2004] 1 LNS 318 CA (refd)

Ismail v. Hasnul And Abdul Ghafar v. Hasnul [1967] 1 LNS 228 FC (refd)

Krishna Rao Gurumurthi v. PP And Another Appeal [2009] 2 CLJ 603 FC (refd)

Liew Kaling & Ors v. PP [1960] 1 LNS 60 HC (refd)

PP v. Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim (No 3) [1999] 2 CLJ 215 HC (refd)

PP v. Datuk Haji Harun Haji Idris (No 2) [1976] 1 LNS 184 (refd)

PP v. Lim Teik Seng & Ors [1985] 2 CLJ 61; [1985] CLJ (Rep) 691 HC (refd)

PP v. Saimin & Ors [1971] 1 LNS 115 HC (refd)

Samsudin v. PP [1962] 1 LNS 180 HC (refd)

Sunny Ang v. PP [1965] 1 LNS 171 FC (dist)

Legislation referred to:

Criminal Procedure Code, ss. 112(5), 170(1), 174(a), 179(1), 180(1), (4), 182A

Evidence Act 1950, ss. 3, 8, 11, 27, 32, 35, 73, 74, 76, 77, 90A(1), (2), (3)(b), (5), (6), 90B(a), 133, 154

Penal Code, ss. 34, 300(a), 302


For the prosecution - Ishak Md Yusuf (Saiful Edris Zainuddin, Idham Abd Ghani & Siti Rohaida Che Hamid with him); DPPs

For the accused - Manjeet Singh Dhillon; M/s Hakem Arabi & Assocs

Gurbachan Singh; M/s Bachan & Kartar

Amer Hamzah Arshad; M/s Ranjit Singh & Yeoh

Hasshahari; M/s Hasshahari & Partners

Reported by Ashok Kumar

UNDANG-UNDANG JENAYAH: Kanun Keseksaan - Seksyen 409 - Pecah amanah jenayah - Kes prima facie - Sama ada terbukti - Menjalankan pembelian saham secara curang - Sama ada tertuduh sebagai ejen terikat dengan tanggungjawab yang diamanahkan - Sama ada pembelaan gagal menimbulkan keraguan atas kes pendakwaan - Faktor-faktor yang dipertimbangkan - Kepentingan awam - Sama ada hukuman yang dijatuhkan setimpal dan wajar dengan kesalahan yang dilakukan

[KES TANGKAP NO: 62-450-2005]
23 FEBRUARI 2011

Tertuduh (`OKT'), sebagai ejen, iaitu Ahli Jawatankuasa Pelaburan bagi Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja-Pekerja Bank (`NUBE'), yang telah diamanahkan dengan penguasaan ke atas dana-dana NUBE berjumlah RM8,854,575.32, dituduh dengan curangnya melakukan pecah amanah jenayah terhadap dana-dana tersebut. OKT telah dituduh dengan menjalankan pembelian saham "non-trustee" secara kontra yang bertentangan dengan cara yang ditetapkan untuk melaksanakan amanah tersebut seperti yang terkandung dalam resolusi NUBE. Dengan itu, OKT dikatakan telah melakukan satu kesalahan di bawah s. 409 Kanun Keseksaan dan boleh dihukum di bawah seksyen yang sama. Saksi-saksi pendakwaan berhujah bahawa satu "Investment Committee" (`IC') atau Jawatankuasa Pelaburan telah ditubuhkan dan dipegang oleh OKT (Setiausaha Kehormat) pada tahun 1994 sehingga 1996. IC ditubuh bagi tujuan pelaburan untuk menjana keuntungan bagi kepentingan ahli NUBE melalui pelaburan saham KLSE. OKT telah diberi mandat untuk membuat pelaburan bagi pihak NUBE. Menurut saksi-saksi dan dokumen-dokumen yang dikemukakan, OKT telah melanggar kuasa pelaburan yang diberikan oleh NUBE dan juga telah melanggar s. 49 Akta Kesatuan Sekerja 1959 dibaca bersama dengan s. 5 Akta Pemegang Amanah 1949. Menurut keterangan yang disediakan, OKT telah menyebabkan "wrongful loss" kepada NUBE kerana tindakan OKT membeli saham "non-trustee" dan transaksi secara kontra telah menyebabkan NUBE mengalami kerugian dan menyebabkan kemarahan ahli-ahli jawatankuasa serta penyingkiran OKT sebagai Setiausaha Agung NUBE. Mahkamah mendapati bahawa pihak pendakwaan telah membuktikan satu kes prima facie dan OKT telah dipanggil untuk membela diri. Pembelaan OKT adalah, antara lain, bahawa (i) beliau adalah seorang "layman" dan tidak mengetahui maksud "trustee stocks" dan contra; (ii) ahli jawatankuasa mempunyai pengetahuan berkenaan pembelian dan penjualan saham "non-trustee" dan secara kontra serta tahu mengenai kerugian akibat daripada pelaburan tersebut kerana ia telah dibentangkan di mesyuarat; dan (iii) pembelian saham "non-trustee stocks" dan transaksi secara kontra dilakukan oleh remisier SA Kumar.

Diputuskan (mensabitkan tertuduh):

(1) Selaku Setiausaha Kehormat, OKT terikat dengan tanggungjawab yang diamanahkan di bawah Perlembagaan Kesatuan, iaitu melalui resolusi, arahan dan peraturan yang diluluskan oleh NUBE melalui mesyuarat-mesyuarat oleh NEC (National Executive Council). Pembelaan OKT bahawa beliau tidak tahu maksud "trustee stocks" dan contra tidak boleh dijadikan sebagai pembelaan atau melepaskan tanggungjawab OKT sebagai seorang yang memegang amanah dan dipertanggungjawab dalam memegang jawatan di dalam Kesatuan. (perenggan 33)

(2) Perkara bahawa ahli jawatankuasa berpengetahuan mengenai kerugian akibat pelaburan tersebut telah disangkal oleh saksi-saksi pihak pendakwaan yang mengesahkan bahawa IC hanya diberi kuasa untuk menjual-beli saham "trustee stocks". OKT telah didapati membentangkan dan melaporkan pelaburan saham NUBE secara bertentangan dengan apa yang diamanahkan kepadanya di dalam mesyuarat IC dan NEC. Tambahan, OKT sendiri yang telah mengarahkan SP7 (akauntan) untuk melaporkan keuntungan dan saham "trustee stocks" sahaja untuk menyembunyikan tindakannya. Jelaslah pelakuan OKT dibuat dengan niat dan teliti untuk menyembunyikan fakta sebenar kerana beliau tahu melalui akauntan yang sediakan akaun serta surat-surat peringatan daripada BBMB Securities yang menuntut tunggakan bayaran daripada "Contra Trading" yang dilakukan olehnya. (perenggan 34 & 49)

(3) Sekiranya remisier membuat pembelian dan penjualan tanpa kelulusan dan arahan pelanggan, maka pihak "securities" akan menghantar kontrak kepada pelanggan satu hari selepas transaksi di mana pelanggan boleh membuat aduan jika terdapat pembelian yang tidak sah. NUBE boleh membuat aduan kepada "Securities" terhadap remisier SA Kumar tetapi SP5 telah mengesahkan bahawa tiada sebarang aduan yang dibuat oleh NUBE. Jelas menunjukkan bahawa OKT cuba meletakkan kesalahan atas remisier SA Kumar (yang sudah meninggal dunia) namun OKT yang mewakili NUBE tidak pernah membuat sebarang aduan walaupun mengetahui bahawa BBMB Securites telah membuat tuntutan bayaran atas kerugian daripada transaksi "contra-trading" daripada NUBE. (perenggan 35)

(4) Peruntukan s. 409 Kanun Keseksaan jelas menunjukkan bahawa kesalahan pecah amanah jenayah adalah tergolong dalam kesalahan yang serius. Lazimnya bagi kesalahan yang serius, undang-undang akan memperuntukkan hukuman penjara mandatori malahan dikenakan hukuman tambahan iaitu sebat. Di dalam kes ini, OKT telah berusia 65 tahun maka menurut Kanun Tatacara Jenayah, OKT dikecualikan daripada hukuman sebat. Hukuman sepuluh tahun yang mahkamah kenakan dan denda RM20,000 tidak bayar enam bulan penjara dianggap telah memenuhi kepentingan awam yang menuntut agar pesalah diberi hukuman yang berat. (perenggan 44)

(5) Jumlah atau nilai dana yang diamanahkan kepada OKT perlu diambilkira. Jumlah tersebut adalah jumlah yang besar kepada NUBE dan ia akan memberi kesan kepada semua ahli NUBE yang mengharapkan keuntungan. Sebaliknya, NUBE mengalami kerugian. Peningkatan atau statistik jenis kesalahan pecah amanah jenayah juga kian meningkat. Hukuman penjara yang panjang juga dapat menghalang OKT daripada sengaja mengulangi kesalahan yang sama atau mengajar orang lain untuk melakukan kesalahan tersebut. (perenggan 50 & 51)

(6) Kepentingan awam dan perundangan masa kini menuntut agar pesalah bagi pertuduhan yang melibatkan amanah harta benda atau kewangan apabila berlaku pecah amanah sepatutnya dikenakan hukuman yang berat dan setimpal. (perenggan 50, 51, 53, 54 & 55)

Kes-kes yang dirujuk:

Chan Sit Hoong v. PP [1974] 1 LNS 19 HC (dirujuk)

Lim Guan Eng v. PP & Other Appeals [1998] 3 CLJ 769 CA (dirujuk)

PP v. Ravindran & Ors [1992] 1 LNS 47 HC (dirujuk)

PP v. Sulaiman Ahmad [1992] 4 CLJ 2283; [1992] 3 CLJ (Rep) 447 HC (dirujuk)

PP v. Teh Ah Cheng [1976] 1 LNS 116 HC (dirujuk)

R v. Economedes [1990] 58A Crim 466 (dirujuk)

R v. Kenneth John Ball [1951] (35) App R 164 (dirujuk)

Sau Soo Kim v. PP [1975] 1 LNS 202 FC (dirujuk)

Zaidon Shariff v. PP [1996] 4 CLJ 441 HC (dirujuk)

Perundangan yang dirujuk:

Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, ss. 376, 377

Penal Code, ss. 23, 24, 402A, 409

Trade Unions Act 1959, s. 49

Trustee Act 1949, s. 5


Bagi pihak pendakwaan - Farhan Read (Hashley Tajudin bersamanya); TPR

Bagi pihak tertuduh - R Shankar; Ramachandran Shankar & Co

Dilaporkan oleh Suhainah Wahiduddin