‘Court’s ruling a devastating blow for those seeking justice’

Baru Bian

KUCHING: The High Court’s ruling yesterday to discharge and acquit three accused of abetting in the murder of Bill Kayong has been called a devastating blow for those seeking justice.

State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian said the prosecution failed to put up a credible case against the alleged mastermind behind Bill’s murder.

“One can sense the frustration of the judge in having to put up with an inept prosecution. Rulings are based on evidence presented before the court and without putting forth a strong case, the prosecution had failed to even get past first base,” Baru said in a press statement yesterday.

The three accused – Datuk Stephen Lee Chee Kiang, 46; Chin Wui Ching, 51; and Lie Chang Loon, 38 – walked from the court as free men, while Mohamad Fitri Fauzi, 30, who is charged with murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code, was called to enter his defence.

Baru said the release of the alleged mastermind, who did not even need to enter his defence, made “a complete mockery of our criminal justice system”.

“The trial will be remembered for the supposed key prosecution witnesses switching sides during the trial, while many named witnesses from the communities who could have testified to give useful evidence were not called.

“It was recalled that the threats made against Miri MP Dr Michael Teo and the late Bill Kayong were not adduced in the trial. The whole conduct of the case leaves much to be desired,” said Baru.

According to him, the case has left many questions unanswered.

“Why did Stephen Lee flee the country immediately after the murder if he was innocent? After hiding in Australia, he fled to China, and it took months and the cooperation of the Chinese authorities before the authorities were able to bring this fugitive back to face trial.

“After all the efforts taken to capture him, he has been released because of insufficient evidence? This is a complete joke and points to serious deficiencies in the prosecutor’s office. How competent are the DPPs (deputy public prosecutors) to conduct major criminal cases? Were the prosecution witnesses prevented from being influenced to change their stories? Did the prosecution even really try to build up a solid case?” asked Baru.

The Ba Kelalan assemblyman claimed the court’s decision sent a very disturbing message.

“At the end of the day, it looks like the rich are not accountable for their actions and they can behave like gangsters without any consequences besides the inconvenience of a few months in the police lock-up,” he said.

“The prosecution had failed dismally in bringing his murderers to justice, and they have some serious soul-searching to do. As do all of us, especially the natives of Sarawak. What now for the family of Bill Kayong? Where is justice to be found? This is indeed a dark day for us all.”

Source: The Borneo Post

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