By Bernama | Malay Mail

High Court Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah is expected to announce the verdict at the end of the trial at 10am tomorrow. — REUTERS 

The fate of 18 National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) students charged with murdering, injuring, and abetting the murder of UPNM marine cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain will be known tomorrow.

High Court Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah is expected to announce the verdict at the end of the trial at 10am tomorrow.

On April 8, the defence closed its case after calling the 18 UPNM students and two other witnesses, Sungai Buloh Hospital Forensics Medicine Department Chief Dr Rohayu Shahar Adnan and UPNM student Muhammad Alif Farhan Aerosni, to testify during defence proceedings that began on October 2, 2019.

In the trial, which began on January 29, 2018, the prosecution called 31 witnesses, including Serdang Hospital forensics medicine expert Dr Salmah Arshad and UPNM students Ahmad Senabil Mohd and Mohd Syafiq Abdullah, who saw the steam iron being pressed onto the victim’s body.

The case was prosecuted by Kuala Lumpur Prosecution Director Datin Kalmizah Salleh together with Deputy Public Prosecutor N. Joy Jothi while the defence was represented by lawyers Datuk Ranjit Singh Dhillon, Amer Hamzah Arshad, Datuk Hazman Ahmad, Zamri Idrus, Fadly Hashim, Datuk Seri M. Ramachelvam, and Datuk Hazizah Kassim.

On July 31, 2019, the High Court ordered the 18 UPNM students, all aged 25, to enter their defence after the court found that the prosecution had succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against them.

Five of the accused, Muhammad Akmal Zuhairi Azmal, Muhammad Azamuddin Mad Sofi, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat, and Mohamad Shobirin Sabri, are facing murder charges, while Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali is charged with abetting the murder.

The offence was allegedly committed at room 04-10, Jebat dormitory block, UPNM between 4.45am and 5.45am on May 22, 2017. The murder charge under section 302 of the Penal Code carries the mandatory death sentence on conviction, while Abdoul Hakeem is charged under section 109 of the same Act, which carries a similar sentence.

All the six accused, along with 12 others, Mohd Hafiz Fauzan Ismail, Mohamad Lukhmanul Hakim Mohd Zain, Ahmad Shafwan Berdal, Muhammad Amirul Asraff Mala, Luqman Hakim Shamsuri, Muhammad Sufi Mohd Mustapha, Noriznan Izzairi Noor Azhar, Muhamad Ashraf Abdullah, Muhammad Danial Firdaus Azmir, Muhammad Hasif, Muhammad Adib Iman, and Mohamad Syazwan, also face charges of deliberately injuring the victim to coerce a confession from him that he had stolen a laptop.

They allegedly committed the offence in room 03-05, Jebat dormitory block, UPNM between 2.30am and 5.30am on May 21, 2017 and will face a maximum of seven years’ jail and fines if convicted.

Zulfarhan Osman died at Serdang Hospital on June 1, 2017.