Ulu Niah Murder Trial Begins

MIRI, 27.11.2000 - The Ulu Niah multiple murder trial began today at the Miri High Court, after a half an hour delay since 9 am due to a power disruption to the court room.

Around about 50 friends, families and supporters thronged the Miri Court Complex since 8 am to give support to the 19 accused and later performed a miring ceremony outside the Court's compound.

At around 10:15 am, the 19 accused were brought to the dock and the trial began fifteen minutes later. The 4 charges were read out to the 19 accused by Judicial Commissioner Dato' Sulaiman Daud and was translated to Iban by one of the Court's interpreters.

The 19 accused, Jalen Ak Antom (60), Mawat Ak Sait (22), Rentap Ak Lajon (30), Majang Ak Guba (26), Jambul Ak Bundak (23), Bilong Ak Badak (38), Ungut Ak Kadukom (50), Bali Ak Belukun (53), Langgong Ak Mandang (42), Guba Ak Jugol (45), Ijau Ak Rimo (42), Sait Ak Utat (52), Emban Ak Lajon (35), Udan Ak Mat (74), Busang Ak Nyandang (62), Manggat Ak Nyaleng (23), Ruyang Ak Dangon (31), Liaw Ak Rambol (45) and a juvenile (18) are charge under section 149 of the Penal Code punishable under section 302 of the same code for allegedly having jointly as members of an unlawful assembly caused the death of Liaw Teck Kong (39), Tiong Ing Seng (26), Ling Chien Fung (29) and Wong Kok Seng (25) at Lot 75 Sawai Land District, Lamaus Estate in Ulu Niah, Miri, Sarawak at 4 pm on 1st September 1999.

If found guilty, the 19 accused could faced the death sentence. All the 19 accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The 19 accused stand trial because they feel that they are innocent. They claimed that they were defending themselves by using their right of private defence on themselves and their property from the attack of the 7 workers allegedly employed by Sarawak Oil Palm Berhad (SOP), which resulted in 4 of them being killed and 3 injured.

SOP is a Sarawak government own company involving in oil palm plantation development in various parts of Sarawak.

Deputy Public Persecutor, Puan Julia Ibrahim appeared at the persecution corner while the 19 accused was represented by defence counsel Tai Choi Yu, K.Y. Lin, M.S. Sandhu, David Lim, Wendel Crocker, Mohd. Chee Kadir, Bernard Chung, Antonio Sim, Antalai Sawing, Restina Kota, Zaidah Yak, Osart Jallong, Victor Sia, Sam Laya, Keith Chin, Dennis Lau, Un Pier Linggong, Reginal Kevin Akau and Watson Banggau.

A former Superintendent of Land and Surveys Department, Miri Division was the first of the 76 witnesses called to testify in this trial.

Trial will resume tomorrow. - BRIMAS