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RPK's lawyers claim evidence tampered - Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Key materials based on which the sedition charge against blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin was framed have been tampered with, his lawyer J Chandra claimed today.

Chandra told the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court that the alleged seditious article entitled ‘Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell’ was a “typed out document” and not a printout of the article posted on the Malaysia Today website on April 25.

In addition, he claimed that the photo on the six-page article was a result of the cut-and-paste technique.

Chandra raised the matter when cross-examining Gan Tack Guan, the assistant director of the Interpol National Centre Bureau at police headquarters Bukit Aman, who appeared as the fifth witness.

Gan, while being examined by deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Ishak Mohd Yusoff, confirmed that he had lodged the police report on Raja Petra after reading the article on April 30. He is also the chief investigating officer in the murder trial of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu (right).

When Ishak asked Gan whether he could identify the report, judge Rozina Ayob reproached the DPP saying that the witness should first try and recall the contents of the report.

“I have noticed that the DPP wants to show the police report before asking the witness to identify the content…” said Rozina, in reference to several incidents since the hearing began on Monday.

“Ask him whether he can remember the contents… for the sake of justice I want to know if he can remember first before showing it to him.”

Gan then said he had lodged the report the same day that he read the article because he believed that “several issues that were raised in the article were untrue and concocted”.

He lodged another report on April 30 after he realised that he had made a mistake in the first report, in relation to the date the article was posted.

Asked about the contents of the article which compelled him to file the report, Gan said: “I cannot explain the contents of the article at length, I only concentrated on parts that were related to Altantuya’s case.”

In reply to a question, he said the contents referring to political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda (left) - one of three persons on trial for the murder of Shaariibuu - were untrue.

When he said that there were three other issues but that he could not remember the details, he was allowed to view the article to identify the contents.

‘Some kind of Plasticine explosive’

However, the situation soon heated up when Gobind Singh Deo, one of the defence counsels, began cross-examining Gan.

His first question was: “What is your religion?”

However the judge intervened and asked Gobind the relevance of the question.

He replied that Gan had stated in his police report that he was a Malay “and therefore, he is presumably a Muslim”.

Gan then admitted that this was a mistake and that he is a Buddhist.

Gobind (right) proceeded to ask whether Gan had “carefully read through the article” but Gan hesitated and said “I have read it”.

Gobind: I suggest to you that only the four instances to your mind are untrue (but) the rest of the article is true.

Gan: I cannot confirm whether it is true or untrue.

Gobind: As the complainant in this case, you did not look at the truth of the whole article?

Gan: Yes.

At that juncture, Gobind went on to probe the witness on the details of Shaariibuu’s murder, including the nature of the explosive substance used to blow up her body.

Gan replied: “It was some kind of Plasticine explosive… if I’m not mistaken.”

When quizzed whether C-4 (plastic explosive) was used, Gan said he did not know.

After similar questions, Gobind said in apparent exasperation that Gan was a “useless investigating officer”, before retracting his comment after being rebuked by the judge.

DPP Roslan Mat Nor objected to the line of questioning on the basis that the Shaariibuu murder case should not be raised, as it would be prejudicial to the trial.

“If the defendant's counsels are raising questions related to the Altantuya case, it might prejudice proceedings,” said Roslan.

“The defence can raise questions related to the subject matter of the charge without referring specifically to the murder trial at the Shah Alam High Court.”

Gobind replied: “The matters are to be decided by the High Court but this man (Gan) has lodged a report that the article is untrue - and we can’t query him on the contents of the article?”

Chandra interjected, citing Section 3 (2)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 which states that it is not seditious to for anyone to ‘point out errors or defects... in the administration of justice with a view to the remedying of the errors or defects’.

Ishak then told the court that he would require time to “consider the charge” and was given up to Monday for this.

rpk raja petra sedition court 061008 surroundedThe judge also agreed to give Raja Petra time to go for a coronary check-up, saying he could do so tomorrow.

Raja Petra, who is currently being detained under the Internal Security Act, has been attending the hearings related to the sedition charge.

He looked cheerful and was overheard joking with his lawyers. About 30 supporters have been present in court since the hearing began on Monday. -