Witness admits she is the real killer, eight accused set free

KOTA KINABALU: In a shocking plot twist, eight people including a former Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) intelligence chief were freed from charges of murder and conspiracy as the victim’s ex-wife admitted to the crime while testifying yesterday.

Nurimah Juli, the 23rd witness in the murder trial, suddenly confessed to having killed her ex-husband Nurman Bakaratu, 61, in Jalan Anjur Juara, Batu 5 Jalan Apas, at about 8pm on Jan 13 last year.

Upon the admission made by the 35-year-old witness, the Tawau High Court ordered that the eight accused be acquitted.

The eight are Senior Asst Comm Datuk Mat Zaki Md Zain, 59, six police personnel namely Rosdi Rastam, 45, Denis Anit, 45, Fabian Rungam, 44, Khairul Azman Bakar, 47, Mohd Azlan Sakaran, 40, and John Kennedy Sanggah, 44, as well as Vivien Fabian, a 34-year-old civilian.

At the proceedings yesterday, Nurimah told the court that she stabbed the victim using scissors taken from her bag while fighting with him in a Perodua Myvi car at the scene of the incident.

Nurimah also said no one was at the scene at that time except for her and the victim, who worked as an e-hailing driver.

On hearing the startling admission by the witness, lawyers for the accused and the prosecutor immediately asked for the eight in the dock to be freed.

Deputy public prosecutor Khairul Azreem Mamat then made an application under Section 254 of the Criminal Procedure Code to not proceed with the prosecution of all the accused.

“This request was made after taking into account the latest developments in the case at the trial which entered the eighth day today,” he said.

Rosdi’s lawyer, Datuk Ansari Abdullah asked the court to free and release his client after all 23 prosecution witnesses were called and they had been in custody for nearly a year.

Lawyer Datuk Ram Singh also applied for the same when the prosecution decided not to proceed with the prosecution of his clients – Mat Zaki, Khairul Azman, Mohd Azlan, John and Vivien.

Lawyers Luke Ressa Balang and Mohamed Zairi Zainal Abidin also made the same request for their respective clients, Dennis and Fabian.

High Court judge, Justice Duncan Sikodol then ordered all of them to be freed of the charges after eight days of hearing.

Last year, the eight accused were charged with conspiring to kill Nurman in an oil palm plantation near Jalan Anjur Juara, Jalan Apas Batu 5, Tawau between 7.30pm and 11.30pm on Jan 13.

There was an air of relief among the family members of the accused who were released by the court. Shouts of “Hidup Esscom!” also reverberated on the corridors of the courthouse.