Cradle CEO murder: Witness changed testimony about ‘petrol’ many times, says lawyer

SHAH ALAM: The defence in the murder case of Cradle Fund chief executive officer Nazrin Hassan told the High Court here Wednesday (April 13) that a science officer from the Fire and Rescue Department had changed her testimony about ‘petrol’ many times.

Lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said Aznor Sheda Shamsuddin, who is the 14th prosecution witness (PW14), changed her testimony after being recalled this year for the second time.

“PW14 said she did not have a reference database and that was why she had to use fresh petrol as her standard but during recall, she said she had a reference database. She said it was her ‘practice’ to use fresh petrol as reference or standard petrol and it was only during recall and in re-examination, she accidentally said that she had weathered petrol reference in her database,” he said in his reply submission at the end of the prosecution case.

Aznor Sheda came to court twice in 2019 and this year, after getting her test method. She was also the only prosecution witness to tell the court that the sample on the wall of the room Nazrin was killed, contained petrol.

Muhammad Shafee said during cross-examination in 2019, PW14 repeatedly said that the blanks did not have peaks and this would indicate that the Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) machine is not contaminated.

“This was before she supplied the blank chromatograms to the defence. After being recalled in 2022, she was confronted as to why the blanks had peaks of ion and suddenly she said it was because of noise.

“She will do blanks between runs of different samples, but during recall, she said that she did not do the blanks between all samples. She also said she printed out the chromatograms, but during recall when she was cross-examined, she admitted that she modified the printout to fit the page. There was a mistake in one of the printouts that caused the errors with the display,” the lawyer said.

Muhammad Shafee said the chemists of the Chemistry Department had gone to the premises to take samples and found no petrol.

“That’s very important. The second person who found no petrol was senior pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Feng (PW46). The smell of the body, during post-mortem he found no smell of petrol. It’s part of the post-mortem.

“The third category is not a person but two dogs – did not detect any petrol and the prosecution failed to call the dog handler. Or even offered. This is adverse inference because we could have established wonderful points through him as to how sure he is with his dogs would be able to detect if there were petrol.

“They never called. The adverse inference is that if they would have called the dog handler would have said it’s a certainty that there is no petrol therefore my dogs could not have detected it,” he said.

Muhammad Shafee further submitted none of the Fire and Rescue Department officers could give a theory how the fire started.

“Prosecution is not able to explain how sample A (sisa kebakaran atas dada) was burnt, why that was not a point of origin also. Therefore, the defence’s animation would be able justify all the points of fire and how the fire was transferred from bed to floor,” he said.

Nazrin’s 47-year-old widow and two teenagers, now aged 19 and 16, as well as an Indonesian woman still at large, Eka Wahyu Lestari, were all charged with murdering Nazrin at his house in Mutiara Damansara, between 11.30pm on June 13, 2018, and 4am the following day.

Submissions before Judge Datuk Ab Karim Rahman continue on April 22. – Bernama