Altantuya’s family withdraws appeal over failed bid to use criminal verdict in suit

Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu who was murdered in 2006.

PUTRAJAYA: The family of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu today withdrew their appeal against a High Court’s dismissal of their bid to use the Federal Court’s criminal verdict over her murder for their civil lawsuit.

Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, representing the family, informed the Court of Appeal’s three-member bench of the withdrawal with no order as to cost.

Justice Badariah Sahamid, who chaired the bench, subsequently struck out the appeal. The other two judges were Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal and Nor Bee Ariffin.

The family members – Altantuya’s father Shaariibuu Setev, her mother Altantsetseg Sanjaa and her sons Mungunshagai Bayarjargal and Altanshagai Munkhtulga – filed the appeal against the Shah Alam High Court’s decision on Oct 1, 2018 rejecting their application to use the evidence in a Federal Court ruling that convicted two policemen of her murder in their RM100 million lawsuit.

Then-High Court judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera who is now a Court of Appeal judge ruled that Section 43 of the Evidence Act 1950 does not allow the use of criminal convictions in civil cases.

Altantuya’s family members filed their suit on June 4, 2007 claiming that her death had caused them mental and psychological trauma. They sought damages including dependency claims.

They named two police officers – Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar – political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda and the government as defendants in the suit.

Razak was charged with conspiring with Azilah and Sirul Azhar to kill Altantuya, 28, in 2006, but he was acquitted of the charge in October 2008 without having to enter his defence. Azilah and Sirul Azhar were found guilty in 2009.

On Aug 23, 2013, the Court of Appeal allowed Azilah and Sirul’s appeal and acquitted them of the charge but their acquittal was overturned by the Federal Court on Jan 13, 2015 following the prosecution’s appeal.

Sangeet told reporters that the appeal was withdrawn in view of the position of the law that criminal convictions cannot be used in civil lawsuits.