The High Court has heard the first two accused admit to putting a hot iron on Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) naval cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain
Muhammad Akmal Zuhairi and Muhammad Azamuddin Mad Sofi are the first and second accused in the murder case of bully victim Zulfarhan Osman, reported New Straits Times.
80% of Zulfarhan Osman's body was found with burn marks when he passed away on 1 June 2017.
The victim was alleged to have stolen a laptop and his university mates decided to take justice into their own hands by torturing him.
During the proceedings on Monday, 4 November, Akmal admitted to hearing the victim screaming in pain every time he put the hot iron on him
Akmal made the confession when he was re-examined by deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim during the trial before Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah.
The first accused admitted to putting the hot iron on the victim's sole and knee, but denied that he had put it on other parts of the victim's body.
He had also admitted to using lotion to treat the burn wounds on the victim from 23 May to 26 May 2017, and subsequently brought the victim to a clinic
Akmal said he brought the victim to the As-Salam Clinic in Bandar Baru Bangi on 27 May 2017, but not the clinic on the campus as it was closed during the semester break.
"While at the clinic, I, Afif, and Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali (both are also accused in the case) also went into the treatment room. There was no letter from the doctor to refer Zulfarhan to a hospital," Bernama quoted him as saying.
When questioned by his defence lawyer, Amer Hamzah Arshad, he said that the reason why he brought the victim to the clinic was to understand the condition of the injuries on Zulfarhan's body.
Muahmmad Akmal also denied that he had caused 18 of the 90 scars found on the victim’s body and that they took turns to place the hot iron on the victim
"When the hot iron was placed on Zulfarhan, did you try to stop it?" asked the deputy prosecutor.
"No," answered Akmal.
As a cadet officer and a student of UPNM, he confessed that he knew his actions were wrong and against the law.
He also explained the reason he denied that the other accused took turns placing the hot iron on the victim was because he went to the toilet and out to smoke after using the iron on the victim.
He told the court that the victim confessed to stealing the laptop, but he did not report the case to the university's top management
Julia: I put it to you that you did not report the matter because you know what you did to Zulfarhan was wrong and action could be taken against you.
Akmal: I disagree. Normally at UPNM, nothing happens.
Julia: So, the culture there is that when you hurt others, nothing happens, steal a laptop, one gets expelled. Is that what you meant?
The second accused, Azamuddin, said yesterday, 5 November, that he did not know putting the hot iron on the victim would hurt
Azamuddin admitted to putting the hot iron on the victim's thigh and shoulder on 22 May 2017, reported New Straits Times.
He said the victim's death was unexpected and he did not have the intention of hurting the victim.
Azamuddin also told the court that he and the victim were "best friends"
Amer Hamzah: Please describe your relationship with Zulfarhan.
Azamuddin: We were best friends... Even though he has passed away, we always wished him in our prayers... 'no man left behind' is our creed and that is why we were very close.
Amer Hamzah: If both of you were best friends, why did you do that (press the steam iron) on him?
Azamuddin: When I did that, I did not (realise) that it would harm him... I did that because I wanted to teach him a lesson.
During the proceedings, Azamuddin was seen trying to hold back his tears as he apologised to the victim's family
The second accused said he was with the victim in the hostel room on the day he died.
“He vomited and suffered from diarrhoea that night… when I was cleaning up his vomit," Azamuddin said.
"I said never mind as we are best friends before he said that he missed his parents.
"I told him to use my handphone to call his parents but he refused to do so, as he did (not) want his parents to be worried about him.
"He wanted to apologise to his parents and I told him he needed to be strong and I will be with him no matter what," he added.
The victim's 56-year-old mother was seen wiping her tears when she learned that her son's last words were that he missed his parents.
Azamuddin, too, was seen holding in his tears while apologising to the family members who were present in the court.
A total of 18 individuals have been charged with various offences related to the death of Zulfarhan
Five individuals have been charged with murdering Zulfarhan:
- Muhammad Akmal,
- Muhammad Azamuddin Mad Sofi,
- Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi,
- Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat, and
- Mohamad Shobirin Sabr.
Meanwhile, Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali has been charged with conspiring to commit murder.
If convicted, all six would face the mandatory death sentence, reported New Straits Times.
12 others have been charged with voluntarily causing grievous hurt.