Friday, July 4, 2008

Lawyer skeptical new SD signed of own free will

Source : Malaysiakini

The following is the full statement given by P Balasubramaniam’s lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu at a press conference this afternoon at PKR’s headquarters.


I have been made to understand that Mr Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal has issued a statutory declaration at a press conference held at the Prince Hotel at 11am this morning, retracting his earlier statutory declaration affirmed on July 1, 2008.

americk siva pc 040708 02The reason given for this retraction is that his original statutory declaration, recorded by myself, was “compelled to be affirmed under duress”.

No details of this alleged compulsion and duress have been put forth. Mr Bala is reported as not answering when asked this morning in his press conference who was it who intimidated him.

For the record, I confirm that the statutory declaration affirmed by Mr Bala on July 1, 2008 which he released yesterday was affirmed voluntarily before a commissioner for oaths Dr T Yokheswarem and in my presence.

I first met Mr Bala in the presence of a few other persons in a restaurant about two months ago where he asked me to assist with preparing a formal document incorporating some evidence that had not been presented in the ongoing Altantuya trial. I started the process about two weeks after that. I would have met him a few times where I recorded in long hand, what Mr Bala told me.

I have had no reason to doubt what Mr Bala told me as being anything other than the truth and my role was confined to listening to what he had to say, recording the same, and transcribing it into a statutory declaration in a systematic and comprehensible format.

This statutory declaration was then attested before the above said commissioner of oaths, Dr T Yokheswarem in my presence, and of course in the presence of Mr Bala. The contents of this statutory declaration were read in front of this commissioner of oaths who enquired from Mr Bala whether he understood the contents and whether that was his declaration.

After Mr. Bala confirmed the same, he was asked to sign three copies and the commissioner attested each copy. Mr Bala was asked to produce his NRIC (identity card) to the commissioner and then signed the commissioner’s recording book.

I am therefore extremely surprised that Mr Bala, in the space of 24 hours, has engaged the services of another lawyer and affirmed another statutory declaration swearing the first one was untrue and that he was forced to sign it.

As I am familiar with the character of Mr Bala having spent hours with him recording his statement, I am very skeptical that he has signed the second statutory declaration of his own free will and I am convinced he has been intimidated to do so by either threats or promises, as I can think of no other reason.

The commissioner of oaths who attested the first statutory declaration is prepared to confirm what I have stated above as far as the voluntariness of Mr Bala’s statutory declaration is concerned.

In fact Mr Bala recognised the commissioner as soon as he saw him as both apparently grew up in the same neighbourhood in Slim River, which is something I had no knowledge of.

Americk Singh Sidhu