“Don’t”, was what Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) naval cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain cried out when the fourth accused in the trial of his murder twice placed a hot and steaming iron on his thigh.
Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat, 23, admitted in the High Court yesterday that the victim had loudly exclaimed the word “Don’t” when he (Muhammad Afif) placed the iron.
On counsel Datuk Seri M Ramachelvam’s asking, he then proceeded to show in front of presiding judge Datuk Azman Abdullah the way he had placed the iron.
The accused said at 4.30am on May 22, 2017, he approached Zulfarhan and found him perspiring without any sign of injuries after second accused Muhammad Azamuddin Mad Sofi had placed an iron on the victim.
“Later, when Zulfarhan was asked about a theft case, the situation became tensed and chaotic, and someone handed over a steam iron to me, and I spontaneously placed it (iron) on his thigh twice, but for no more than a second,” he said during examination-in-chief by Ramachelvam.
Asked by Ramachelvam on Zulfarhan’s reaction when the iron was placed on his thigh, Muhammad Afif replied:” Zulfarhan recoiled his leg and cried out loudly.
“After using the steam iron, I put (the iron) on the table and did nothing else and then returned to my room 3-3, at the Jebat hostel block of UPNM before dawn,” he said.
The accused said he knew about the injuries sustained by Zulfarhan after being informed by his friends on May 26, 2017, which was a semester break.
Muhammad Afif Najmudin said he and the first accused Muhammad Akmal Zuhairi Azmal, the sixth accused Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali and the 12th witness, Muhammad Sufi Mohd Mustapha took Zulfarhan to Klinik As-Salam in Bangi using 16th accused Muhammad Hasif Ismail’s car on May 27, 2017, at noon.
“After completing the treatment at the clinic, I asked Muhammad Hasif to send me to the Southern Integrated Terminal (TBS) as I wanted to return to my hometown in Negeri Sembilan,” he said.
The accused also said that as his varsity mate, his relationship with Zulfarhan was good.
“I had no intention of injuring and causing Zulfarhan’s death. I did not know that using a steam iron would have caused Zulfarhan injury at that time,” he said.
When cross-examined by DPP Julia Ibrahim whether the iron had come into contact with Zulfarhan’s skin as at that time the victim was wearing only boxer shorts, the accused replied: “Yes”.
When asked what were the words used when Zulfarhan let out his loud cry, Muhammad Afif Najumuddin said: “Don’t”.
“Zulfarhan did not run, he just sat on the floor,” Muhammad Afif Najmudin replied when asked by Justice Azman whether the victim had fled while the iron was placed on him.
Judge Azman: Did the iron emit steam?
Muhammad Afif Najmudin : Yes, Yang Ariff, I knew it was hot but I didn’t know the extent of the heat.
Asked by Justice Azman whether he recognised the logic that steam from an iron was akin to boiling water, Muhammad Afif Najmudin replied: “to say steam was emitted, the lowest temperature would also result in the same, but I am not too sure about this.”
On July 31, the High Court here ordered 18 UPNM students to enter their defence on charges of murdering, injuring and abetting the murder of Zulfarhan.
Five of the accused, Muhammad Akmal, Muhammad Azamuddin, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, Muhammad Afif and Mohamad Shobirin Sabri are charged with murder while Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali is charged with abetting the murder of Zulfarhan.
They allegedly committed the offence at room 04 -10, of the Jebat hostel building in UPNM, between 4.45am and 5.45am on May 22, 2017.
The charges against the accused were made under Section 302 and 109 of the Penal Code, which carry the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
The six, along with 12 others, were also ordered to enter their defence on charges of injuring the victim.
The 12 are Mohd Hafiz Fauzan Ismail, Mohamad Lukhmanul Hakim Mohd Zain, Ahmad Shafwan Berdal, Muhammad Amirul Asraff Mala, Luqman Hakim Shamsuri, Muhammad Sufi Mohd Mustapha, Noriznan Izzairi Noor Azhar, Muhamad Ashraf Abdullah, Muhammad Danial Firdaus Azmir, Muhammad Hasif Ismail, Muhammad Adib Iman Fuad Adi Sany and Mohamad Syazwan Musa.
They are charged with voluntarily causing hurt against the victim for the purpose of forcing the latter to admit to the alleged theft of a laptop, according to Section 330 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the same Act, which imposes a maximum imprisonment of seven years, and a fine, upon conviction.
The offence was allegedly committed at room 03-05, of the Jebat hostel building in UPNM, between 2.30 am and 5.30 am on May 21, 2017.
The trial continues today.