Yesterday, 31 July, as High Court judge Azman Abdullah ordered the 18 accused in the alleged murder of National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain to enter their defence, Zulfarhan's father exclaimed "Alhamdulillah"
The distinctive and decidedly audible sigh of relief filled the packed gallery in the courtroom where the victim's parents were sitting to attend the proceeding.
The parents, Zulkarnain Idros and Hawa Osman, had a look of satisfaction on their faces when judge Azman meted out the judgement against the accused.
According to NST Online, Zulfarhan's parents had arrived by 7am with their family members for the decision at the end of the prosecution's case yesterday.
While they sat calmly in the public gallery during the proceeding, the father was seen on bended knees outside the courtroom following the judgement.
The 55-year-old bowed in gratitude before bursting into tears.
The parents, who are happy with the decision, hoped that a fair punishment would be handed down to those who are responsible
"I still hear his voice at night and we really miss his presence especially during Hari Raya. We waited almost two years for this," Zulfarhan’s mother, Hawa, said, adding that she was always thinking of her son even though it had been two years since his death.
Judge Azman, who ordered the 18 men to enter their defence, made the ruling after finding the prosecution has successfully proven a prima facie case at the end of their submission
"After scrutinising and examining the witness statements to the maximum throughout the prosecution's case, the court is ordering the accused to enter defence," Malaysiakini reported the High Court judge as saying during the proceeding yesterday.
Of the 18 accused in Zulfarhan Osman's death, five were charged with murder while one was charged with abetting the murder. They are Muhammad Akmal Zuhairi, Muhammad Azamuddin Mad Sofi, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat and Mohamad Shobirin Sabri and Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali.
The other 12 accused, who are all aged 23, were charged for voluntarily causing hurt.
One of the accused, Muhammad Akmal Akif Alias, was acquitted and discharged from voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Zulfarhan
Akmal, who was clad in a blue blazer, said he had been victimised during the incident.
"I would like to continue my studies which had been halted due to this incident," Akmal was quoted as saying by NST Online.
The High Court fixed 2 October for defence's trial to commence
Other dates set aside by the court are 3 October, 4 to 7 November, 18 to 20 November and 3 and 4 December for the defence proceedings.
On 1 June 2017, Navy cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain died while he was admitted to the Serdang Hospital
The 21-year-old undergraduate student was physically tortured.
A victim of bullying and abuse by his fellow students, Zulfarhan was tied up, beaten and burnt with a steam iron for days.
Zulfarhan was pronounced dead at Serdang Hospital on Thursday night at 9pm after he succumbed to injuries. His body was found 80% covered in bruises and burn marks.