The High Court today dismissed an application by the family of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian model who was murdered in Shah Alam near here in 2006, to obtain the statements recorded from those who were investigated by the police in connection with the case, to be used in a civil suit by the family.
Altantuya’s father Shaariibuu Setev, his wife and their two grandsons filed the RM100 million suit against two former policemen, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda and the Malaysian government on June 4, 2007.
Counsel for Altantuya’s family Sangeet Kaur Deo told reporters that Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, who is the trial judge in the civil case at the Shah Alam High Court, ruled that the statements had been taken in confidence and for the purpose of the criminal trial.
Sangeet said the judge also noted that disclosure could be highly prejudicial to any future investigations or pending investigations.
“The judge said no consent had been given by those who gave the statements and the application is irrelevant because the information sought by the family would be obtained in the criminal case records,” the lawyer said after Justice Vazeer delivered the decision in chambers, as he has been elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Sangeet said she would seek instructions from her client whether to appeal against the decision.
“It’s quite a unique application because we are asking for basically the disclosure of the entire investigation papers of a criminal offence to be used in a civil trial,” she added.
So far, 10 witnesses for Altantuya’s family have testified in the civil case which began in January 2019.
Dr Shaariibuu and his wife Altantsetseg Sanjaa and their two grandsons, Mungunshagai Bayarjargal and Altanshagai Munkhtulga, filed the RM100 million suit on June 4, 2007.
However, Altanshagai Munkhtulga’s name was later removed as a plaintiff as he died in 2017.
In their statement of claim, the family alleged that Altantuya’s death had caused them mental shock and psychological trauma, entitling them to be compensated with exemplary and aggravated damages.
Abdul Razak was charged with conspiring with Azilah and Sirul Azhar to kill Altantuya, 28, in 2006, but he was acquitted of the charge in October 2008 without having to enter his defence, while Azilah and Sirul Azhar were found guilty in 2009.
On August 23, 2013, the Court of Appeal allowed Azilah and Sirul Azhar’s appeal and acquitted them of the charge but their acquittal was overturned by the Federal Court on January 13, 2015, following the prosecution’s appeal.
The apex court sentenced both of them to death.
Sirul later fled to Australia and is currently being held at an immigration detention centre there, Australia will not extradite him to Malaysia until the country abolishes the death penalty.
Azilah is on death row at the Kajang Prison near here.