The High Court heard today that one of the two teenagers accused of murdering Cradle Fund CEO Nazrin Hassan had lodged a police report earlier claiming that the policemen investigating him had lied to him during questioning.
His lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the 14-year-old had made the report at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail police station on Sept 22, 2018.
Shafee read the report in court today to correct the teenager’s statement taken when he was remanded for a week from Sept 5 to Sept 12 last year.
“While under remand, I was questioned by many investigating officers (IO), between three to five police officers in a room. I was told to cooperate and that if I did so, I would be released earlier.
“IO Nizam said if everything goes smoothly, the police will prepare a guarantee for me to return home. After being released from remand, I realised the officer lied to me.
“I didn’t know the police can lie to children,” said Shafee while reading the police report before judge Abdul Karim Abdul Rahman today.
The suspect is the son of co-accused Samirah Muzaffar, Nazrin’s wife.
The duo, and another teen, are charged with Nazrin’s murder on June 14 last year at their house in Mutiara Damansara. Another suspect, Indonesian national, Eka Wahyu Lestari remains at large.
The report said the IO lied to the teen about his mother and persuaded him to confess that he had committed the crime.
“After he was released, he realised that the police had lied to him. The police said bad things about his mother, saying she was an archer since secondary school and that she went out to buy petrol at 6am on June 14 last year.
“Police also said she does not care about her son,” Shafee told the court.
“The police lied and convinced me to confess that I had cut up my stepfather’s old ‘Hard Rock’ T-shirt, which I did not do, but had to confess as other people saw me do so,” said the report.
The teen said he was advised by his lawyer to make the correction and set the record straight, adding that he was also worried that his statement would be used falsely.
During the cross-examination of the prosecution witness, police officer Anestassia Chin Fat, Shafee questioned the way she had taken his client’s statement.
According to Shafee, a minor should be accompanied by an adult family member or relative during a police investigation.
Shafee: You agree children should be better protected by police. Did you or did you not inform the child that he can be accompanied by an adult before he gave his statement? It is something encouraged because he is so young.
Anestassia: I’m not sure.
Anestassia also informed the court that she had no knowledge of the police report lodged by the teen against the IO.
Asked by deputy public prosecutor Raya Salim Soib @ Hamid why no adult was asked to accompany the child when his statement was taken, Anestassia said he did not show signs that he was under stress.
“To me, if a child can give a consistent statement, their parents’ presence is not necessary,” she said.
When re-examined by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Asnawi Abu Hanipah, Anestassia said the boy was not urged to confess and that he was able to communicate with her in Bahasa Malaysia when she questioned him last year.
“Although he was fluent in English, he was able to speak to me and reply my questions in Malay. He was not under stress and I can remember he was relaxed. He also did not complain to me about being coaxed to cooperate,” said Anestassia.
Asnawi then asked Anestassia why she had filed the case as a sudden death report (SDR) on the day of the incident.
She replied she came to that conclusion because no sign of crime was found at the scene and the firefighters could not yet determine the cause of the fire.
“There was no break-in, so there was no criminal element. Firefighters could not specifically tell me what had caused the fire.
“Therefore, I classified the case as SDR,” Anestassia said.