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KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 -- The defence in the murder trial of Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) marine cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain closed its case today after calling 20 witnesses.
High Court Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah then set May 10 for both defence and prosecution to file their written submissions after counsel M. Varunchelvam, who represents the fourth accused, Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat, told the court that the defence was closing its case.
The defence witnesses comprised 18 UPNM students accused of murdering, abetting the murder and injuring the victim, as well as Sungai Buloh Hospital Forensics Department head Dr Rohayu Shahar Adnan and another UPNM student, Muhammad Alif Farhan Aerosni.
The prosecution called a total of 31 witnesses, including a forensic expert from Serdang Hospital Dr Salmah Arshad and two witnesses, who saw the act of a steam iron being pressed onto the victim’s body, namely UPNM students Ahmad Senabil Mohd and Mohd Syafiq Abdullah, at the trial, which began on Jan 29, 2018.
Earlier, Kuala Lumpur Hospital Forensic Medicine Department Head Dr Mohamad Azaini Ibrahim, 58, when reading his witness statement, said Zulfarhan had suffered complications due to burns such as electrolyte imbalance, hypovolemic shock (lack of fluids in the body) and subsequent damage to vital organs such as kidneys, and possibly also the heart and lungs.
“In my opinion, the burn marks on the victim’s body caused a loss of body fluids, and the victim could have experienced dehydration at a serious rate (hypovolemic shock).
“This was based on Dr Salmah examination of the victim’s lips, which were found to be dry, and the vitreous humor eye fluid (a colourless gel-like substance that fills the space between the lens and retina) was also too concentrated to be analysed.
“As a result, the electrolyte content in the victim’s body became unbalanced,” said the 31st prosecution witness who was called to refute Dr Rohayu’s (19th defence witness) claims over the possibility that Zulfarhan had health problems.
Meanwhile, Zulfarhan’s father, Zulkarnain Idros, 57, when met by media after today’s proceedings, said he and his family would accept whatever the court decides, although he hoped that it would be in their favour.
On July 31, 2019, the High Court had ordered 18 UPNM students to enter their defence on charges of murdering, injuring and abetting the murder of Zulfarhan.
Five of the accused, namely Muhammad Akmal, Muhammad Azamuddin Mad Sofi, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat and Mohamad Shobirin Sabri were charged with murder, while Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali was charged with abetting the murder of Zulfarhan.
They allegedly committed the offence in room 04-10, of the Jebat hostel building in UPNM, between 4.45 am and 5.45 am on May 22, 2017.
The charges against the accused were made under Section 302 and 109 of the Penal Code, which carry the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
The six, along with 12 others, were also ordered to enter their defence on charges of injuring the victim.
The 12 are Mohd Hafiz Fauzan Ismail, Mohamad Lukhmanul Hakim Mohd Zain, Ahmad Shafwan Berdal, Muhammad Amirul Asraff Mala, Luqman Hakim Shamsuri, Muhammad Sufi Mohd Mustapha, Noriznan Izzairi Noor Azhar, Muhamad Ashraf Abdullah, Muhammad Danial Firdaus Azmir, Muhammad Hasif Ismail, Muhammad Adib Iman Fuad Adi Sany and Mohamad Syazwan Musa.
They were charged with voluntarily causing hurt against the victim for the purpose of forcing the latter to admit to the alleged theft of a laptop, according to Section 330 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the same Act, which imposes maximum imprisonment of seven years and a fine upon conviction.
The offence was allegedly committed at room 03-05, of the Jebat hostel building in UPNM, between 2.30 am and 5.30 am on May 21, 2017.