By Ho Kit Yen | Free Malaysia Today

Six former UPNM students were charged with murdering Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain on May 22, 2017, but were convicted by the High Court of the lesser offence of culpable homicide. — FACEBOOK PIC

The Court of Appeal has fixed July 23 to rule on the appeals of six former National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) students from their conviction and sentence for causing the death of navy cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain seven years ago.

Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail, who chaired a three-judge panel, announced the decision date after hearing submissions over the last two days from the prosecution and defence teams.

Also on the bench were Justices Zaini Mazlan and Azmi Ariffin.

Akmal Zuhairi Azmal, Azamuddin Sofi, Najib Razi, Afif Najmudin Azahat, Shobirin Sabri, and Hakeem Ali were charged and tried for Zulfarhan’s murder on May 22, 2017.

However, in 2021, the High Court found them guilty of the lesser offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, after finding that the accused had no intent to kill their victim.

They were all sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Deputy Public Prosecutor K. Mangai has asked the Court of Appeal to reinstate and convict all six of the murder charge, and impose the death penalty on them.

Earlier today, lead counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad told the court that Akmal and Azamuddin had acted in a “reckless” manner when threatening Zulfarhan with a steam iron over the loss of a laptop.

“Akmal, Azamuddin, and the deceased were friends and they wanted to know if Zulfarhan took the laptop.

“When they used the iron, they did not foresee that it would lead to Zulfarhan’s death,” he said, adding that they took Zulfarhan to a clinic out of a sense of “guilt” for having caused his injuries.

However, such recklessness did not justify reinstating the murder charge since they had no intention of causing Zulfarhan’s death, he said.

He argued that the six should only be found guilty of assault, not manslaughter.

Also on the defence team were lawyers Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, AG Kalidas, Karim Rahman, M. Ramachelvam, Azizul Shariman Mat Yusoff, and Zamri Idrus.