Police apologise to lawyers over ‘cut and paste’ allegation

15th Nov 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: In an interesting turn of events on day eight of the public inquiry by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) into Pastor Raymond Koh’s disappearance, a police observer raised an objection to a piece of evidence tendered by the family lawyer, Jerald Gomez.

Today, the inquiry was supposed to feature the testimony of Selangor Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief SAC Fadzil Ahmat.

Police raised an objection to exhibit 49A, which was tendered on Nov 3, during the questioning of witness and investigating officer ASP Supari Muhammad.

The exhibit was a picture from Singapore’s Berita Harian newspaper which featured police officers wearing black balaclava without police insignia.

Bukit Aman D5 Prosecution and Legal Department’s ASP Nuzulan Mohd Din claimed the family lawyers had “cut and paste” a picture from the original picture on the website that featured police officers with the insignia.

He said the picture was cut and pasted from the original.

“Therefore, we want the photo to be expunged and the testimony to be voided. What is their motive in doing this? We take this action as ‘cut and paste’.

“We want the lawyers to reveal the source from which they actually obtained the picture.

“We view the piece of evidence tendered by the lawyer as misleading (mengelirukan), which is a serious offence, and we may take relevant action under Section 192 of the Penal Code (fabricating false evidence),” he said.

The family lawyer, Gomez, then stood up to raise “the strongest objection” to the police accusation.

“The police have not checked their facts correctly. This is a senior police officer accusing another officer of the court.

“Anyone that goes to the website right now can see there are two pictures there. If you scroll, you will see both the pictures. It is definitely not ‘cut and paste’.

“The purpose of tendering this evidence was to show that there are police officers who do not wear police insignia,” he said.

The panel then called both parties to the bench.

Suhakam commissioner and former Court of Appeal judge Mah Weng Kwai said the panel found that the website indeed had two pictures, and that there was no element of “cut and paste”. The panel also asked the police if they accepted that fact.

Nuzulan said police would withdraw their complaint of “cut and paste” but maintained that the lawyer should have produced both photographs as evidence.

To this, family lawyer Gurdial Singh said it was up to them how they intended to handle their case and tender their evidence.

He also objected to the allegations made by Nuzulan.

“Recommending a charge of Section 192, which is fabricating false evidence, is serious, and their suggestion of how a trial is to be conducted lacks professionalism by the police. They are free to submit their own evidence to contradict ours.

“Recommending a charge was meant to intimidate the lawyer in these proceedings. We want a public apology.”

Mah ruled that the “cut and paste” allegation was serious and that the threat to charge the lawyer was even more serious. He asked if Nuzulan would apologise for the allegation of “cut and paste”.

Nuzulan then apologised. “For the allegation of ‘cut and paste’, I do apologise.”

Gomez then raised another objection to the police describing his evidence as misleading (“mengelirukan”).

“At this stage, we have other exhibits in similar situations where we will reveal pictures.”

Gurdial stood up and said a problem arose from the use of the word “misleading”.

“Police have suggested that the evidence could be ‘misleading’. We need the panel to decide if the evidence is indeed ‘misleading’ as we are disturbed by this allegation.

“How can the evidence be ‘misleading’ when we were just asking about that specific uniform for the police, as ‘one of the many uniforms’?”

Mah eventually called both parties to his room for a discussion about the matter and later announced this ruling:

“For the record, what was discussed in the room next door is that Nuzulan has explained that ‘mengelirukan’ was ‘confusing’ and not ‘misleading’.

“This explanation has been accepted and this puts an end to the allegation of ‘misleading’.”

Gurdial stood on record that the confusion had arisen entirely in the minds of the police.

The inquiry resumes tomorrow at 9am.

The public inquiry is chaired by Mah, and includes Suhakam commissioners Prof Dr Aishah Bidin and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Salleh.

The inquiry will consider, among other things, whether the cases of Koh, activist Amri Che Mat, and Pastor Joshua Hilmy and wife Ruth, were cases of enforced or involuntary disappearance, as defined under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Koh, 63, was abducted from his car by a group of more than 10 men in a convoy of vehicles on Feb 13.

CCTV footage showed at least three black SUVs were involved in the abduction. Many speculated that his abduction might have been connected to his alleged attempts to spread Christianity, although his family has dismissed such claims.

Amri, 44, who co-founded charity organisation Perlis Hope, has been missing since Nov 24 last year.

His wife, Norhayati Ariffin, said witnesses saw five vehicles blocking the path of Amri’s car before he was whisked away, just 550 metres from their home in Bukit Chabang, Perlis.

Joshua and his wife, Ruth, meanwhile, were last seen on Nov 30 last year. A police report was lodged in Klang but the case was referred to the Petaling Jaya police as the complainant said the missing persons lived in Kampung Tunku.

Link to article at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/11/15/police-apologise-to-lawyers-over-cut-and-paste-allegation/