Court bars Altantuya’s family from including 2006 evidence in lawsuit

SHAH ALAM: The family of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu today failed in their bid to include the evidence and judgment on her murder case in their RM100 million lawsuit against the government.

Their lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo said High Court judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera dismissed their bid to include the evidence from the 2006 murder case on grounds that the law prohibits the inclusion of evidence from another court in a different court proceeding.

“The judge maintained Section 43 of the Evidence Act which states that judgments or convictions in another court cannot be used in subsequent proceedings.

“In essence, we have to prove the killing all over again,” she told reporters.

Adding that the family would file an appeal this week, she said trial for the family’s suit would begin on Jan 21.

She said Section 43 of the Evidence Act was seen as an old law, and that many countries had amended their laws on restricting the use of previous court evidence in subsequent proceedings.

“It’s time for the Attorney-General’s Chambers to consider an amendment to the Evidence Act,” she added.

When asked about the police investigation into Altantuya’s murder, she said there was no official update from the authorities yet.

“Certainly, we will be following up because we may need information from the investigation for our suit,” she said.

Altantuya’s father, Shaariibuu Setev, her mother, Altantsetseg Sanjaa and her children filed the RM100 million suit in 2007 against the government, police officers Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri, who were convicted of her murder, and political analyst Razak Baginda.

The family alleged there was conspiracy in Altantuya’s murder.

Sirul and Azilah were convicted by the High Court in 2009 of killing Altantuya, who was described as an interpreter and a model.

They succeeded in overturning their conviction at the Court of Appeal in 2013 but the Federal Court in 2015 restored their conviction and sentenced them to death.

Sirul fled to Australia before the final verdict. The Federal Court later issued a warrant of arrest for him.

Razak, who was charged with abetment in the murder, was freed at the end of the prosecution’s case.

The court ruled that the charge against him was not proven and the government did not appeal, a move that drew public condemnation.

Neither Sirul, who is being held at an Australian detention centre, nor Azilah, who is on death row at Kajang prison, have challenged the suit.

Sirul and Azilah’s lawyers have discharged themselves in the civil claim while Razak has engaged a lawyer to contest the suit.