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Sosilawati Murder Trial Starts Tomorrow

Contributed by Anonymous on Sunday, July 03 @ 10:55:08 CDT

SHAH ALAM, July 3 (Bernama) -- The murder trial of cosmetics millionairess Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others will commence and proceed for three months at the High Court here tomorrow.

The case, which drew nationwide publicity, will be heard before Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir with 50 witnesses expected to testify on behalf of the prosecution.

Former lawyer N. Pathmanabhan and three plantation workers T. Thilaiyagan, R. Matan and R. Khatavarayan, pleaded not guilty to the murders of Sosilawati, 47, bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, 38, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, and Sosilawati's driver, Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44.

They were alleged to have committed the murders at Lot 2001, Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat, Banting, on Aug 30, last year.

The four were charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Ishak Mohd Yusof, Saiful Edris Zainuddin and Idham Abd Ghani make up the prosecution team, while all the accused would be represented by Manjeet Singh, Puspha Ratnam, Amer Hamzah Arshad, Datuk Ng See Teong, Ravi Nekoo and Gurbachan Singh.

The trial would alleviate to a certain extent the distress of the victims' families after a wait of almost a year for it to start. It had been reported they had been missing since Aug 30 after informing their families they were going to Banting about a land deal.

The mystery of the missing victims was cleared last Sept 12 when Bukit Aman Criminal Investigations Department director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin confirmed all of them had been brutally murdered, burnt and their ashes thrown into a river.

Last Feb 21, the High Court here heard an appeal and review of sentencing on two others charged with disposing the bodies of Sosilawati, Noorhisham, Ahmad Kamil and Kamaruddin.

High Court Judge Datuk Mohtaruddin Baki increased K.Sarawanan and U.Suresh's sentences from seven to 20 years.

By the powers vested under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to review a lower court's decision, Judge Mohtaruddin found the magistrate had erred in handing down a seven-year sentence for such a 'heinous' crime.

Sarawanan, 20, and Suresh, 27, were each sentenced to 28 years in prison after they pleaded guilty at the Telok Datok Magistrate's Court on four counts of disposing evidence.

Sarawanan confessed to burning the bodies of the victims at Lot No 2001, Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat, Banting on Aug 30 last year while Suresh disposed off the ashes in the Panchau River, Jalan Morib, Banting the next day.

Mohtaruddin also ordered their prison terms to run consecutively instead of concurrently as handed down in the Magistrate's Court earlier.

It is believed that the prosecution would call on Sarawanan and Suresh to testify during the proceedings.




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