Jong-nam Case: Without “James”, Defending Siti Aisyah a Tall Order

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In the Kim Jong-nam murder case, Siti’s lawyer says “James” should not have been allowed to leave Malaysia.

The police’s decision to repatriate a North Korean man known as “James” had compromised the defence’s case in the Kim Jong-nam murder trial, Siti Aisyah’s lawyer Gooi Soon Seng claimed.

“Siti told the police a person known to her as ‘James’ had recruited her to carry out the act,” he said.

The police had identified “James” as RI Ji-u, one of the three North Koreans who were holed up inside their country’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur to avoid questioning by police.

The trio were allowed to depart with Kim’s body on Mar 30 after their statements were recorded.

“Police are insisting his statement has been recorded. But morally that is a compromise to my client’s defence because he is a crucial subject,” Gooi said.

It was reported that the men were allowed to leave the country in exchange for the release of nine Malaysian hostages in Pyongyang.

Gooi said it may have been a political move to get the nine Malaysians home but it shouldn’t have been done at the expense of Siti.

“James’ statement is not sufficient for the trial as more questioning is required,” Gooi said.

The lawyer reiterated his stand that the girls were scapegoats and pawns, while the culprits were still free and he was concerned the duo may not get a fair trial.

He said CCTV footage of the incident showed Siti Aisyah merely walking away from the scene of the crime, and not committing the crime itself.

“Our focus is (to prove) that there was no (malicious) intention on Siti’s part, that she did not know what she was applying.

“That will excuse her from the crime. If she did not have the intention of committing a particular crime, she cannot be guilty of it.

“The statements (have still not been) given to us and we are interested to look at (them),” Gooi said.

He also revealed that according to the experts’ reports which he had received, there were traces of precursors and degrading products of VX.

“We have to check with the experts and see what this means,” he said.

He added that the substance might not necessarily be VX agent as claimed in the reports.

“VX is supposed to be very potent and even 0.1ml is enough to kill a person.

“But we can say that there were no side effects on the two women,” Gooi said, adding that there are two types of VX nerve agent, VX MN and VX W.

When the trial begins on Oct 2, Doan’s lawyer Datuk Naran Singh explained that the prosecution will call on their witnesses, starting with ten experts who will establish the cause of death.

If the court finds there is a prima facie case, it will call the defence sometime next year, “maybe in January.”

Siti and Doan can enter their pleas on the first day of trial on Oct 2.

The trial has been set for 23 days, with the court allowing the prosecution’s application for the case to be jointly tried.

Selangor prosecution director Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad, who is leading the prosecution team, told the court that the prosecution would be calling between 30 and 40 witnesses.