Gov’t fails to get leave to appeal, remains as defendant in Altantuya suit

04 Sep 2019 / 17:03 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The government will remain as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by the family of deceased Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

This follows the government’s failure to obtain leave from the Federal Court today to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision of reinstating it (the government) as a defendant in the suit.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Datuk Seri David Wong Dak Wah who chaired the bench, dismissed the government’s application for leave to appeal after ruling that the government had not fulfilled the requirements under Section 96 (a) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964, which states that the legal questions framed must be of novel questions.

He ordered the government to pay RM5,000 in costs.

The other judges were Federal Court judges Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin and Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan.

A litigant must obtain leave in order to proceed with the appeal to the Federal Court.

Senior federal counsel, Datuk Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman submitted on Aug 20 that the four legal questions framed for determination of the Federal Court were novel questions relating to the government’s vicarious liability for the act of murder committed by its agents or employees.

Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh, in objecting to the leave to appeal, had however argued that the government was vicariously liable as at the time the two policemen were agents for the government when they committed the murder.

Shaariibuu Setev, his wife Altantsetseg Sanjaa and Altantuya’s two sons, Mungunshagai Bayarjargal and Altanshagai Munkhtulga, filed the suit on June 4, 2007, claiming that Altantuya’s death had caused them mental and psychological trauma.

They had named two police officers, namely Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda and the government as defendants in the suit.

In the statement of claim, the family alleged conspiracy in Altantuya’s murder and was seeking damages, including dependency claims.

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 Aug 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 Jan 13, 2015, following the prosecution’s appeal.

On Aug 23, 2017, the Shah Alam High Court allowed the government’s application to strike out the suit but the appellate court reversed that decision on March 14, last year, thereby reinstating the government as a party to the suit.

Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, who is also representing Altantuya’s family, told reporters that the Shah Alam High Court set Sept 30 for case management of the suit which had been heard partly. — Bernama

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