Cop to defend himself against Kovan murder charges tomorrow
Suspended cop Iskandar Rahmat expected to be sole defence witness
Suspended police officer Iskandar Rahmat is set to take the witness stand in the High Court tomorrow to defend himself against murder charges.
This follows five days of hearings that have seen 16 witnesses testify, including a senior pathologist who rejected the defence team's suggestion that Iskandar attacked car workshop owner Tan Boon Sin, 67, and his son Tan Chee Heong, 42, in self-defence.
Iskandar is accused of murdering both men on the afternoon of July 10, 2013 in the elder Mr Tan's home at 14J, Hillside Drive.
Both bodies were found with multiple stab wounds and the younger Mr Tan's body was found about 1km from the house, outside Kovan MRT Station, after he had been dragged by a car belonging to his father.
Iskandar fled to Malaysia that night and was arrested two days later at a popular Johor Baru eatery.
There were initially 102 witnesses set to testify for the prosecution, including renowned American forensic scientist Henry Lee.
But it was yesterday announced that Dr Lee will neither be taking the stand nor will his statement and reports be admitted.
The remaining 85 witnesses will have their statements admitted.
After the prosecution closed its case, Justice Tay Yong Kwang called on Iskandar to offer his defence.
Asking Iskandar to stand in the dock, Justice Tay said: "At this stage, I find that the prosecution has made up a case against you on the charges on which you're being tried. There's some evidence that is not inherently incredible and satisfies each of the elements of the charges."
Should Iskandar choose not to testify, Justice Tay said, the court may draw inferences from his refusal to testify, but should he take the stand, he will be subject to cross examination from the prosecution.
Dressed in a prison remand outfit and black rimmed glasses, Iskandar said in an even voice: "I elect to testify."
He will be the only defence witness.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, lead defence lawyer Shashi Nathan said the team had initially wanted to call his client's mother and younger sister, but decided against it.
None of Iskandar's family members has attended the trial.
Family members of the victims have been seen in the public gallery taking copious notes and speaking with investigation officers at the end of each session.
The only witness who took the stand yesterday was Dr Lim Hock Hin, who gave Iskandar a medical examination shortly after he was brought back from Malaysia.
In his medical notes, he wrote that Iskandar suffered four injuries, including a human bite mark to his left hand.
This is contrary to what forensic dentist Tan Peng Hui had said on Tuesday, when he maintained that the mark on Iskandar's left hand was not from a human bite.
When asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Lau Wing Yum, Dr Lim said: "I wouldn't disagree. He is a well-known forensic dentist. He has his own judgment on how the marks originated and I agree with him."
Pressed by defence lawyer Shashi Nathan, Dr Lim, who now works in an aesthetic clinic, admitted that he is not an expert in forensic dentistry and would defer to Dr Tan's opinion.
The trial continues.
ABOUT THE CASE
On July 10, 2013, the body of Mr Tan Chee Heong, 42, was found with stab wounds at a taxi stand outside Kovan MRT Station, where it had been dislodged after being dragged nearly 1km by a car owned by his father.
The blood trail led back to 14J, Hillside Drive, where the body of his father, Mr Tan Boon Sin, 67, was found with multiple stab wounds in his home.
Iskandar Rahmat, 36, then a police officer with the Bedok Police Division, is on trial for the double murder.
Iskandar, who was facing disciplinary proceedings because of a $50,000 debt to OCBC Bank, fled to Malaysia that night.
He was arrested in a Johor Baru eatery two days later.
The prosecution says that Iskandar had hatched an elaborate plan to rob and kill Mr Tan Boon Sin to alleviate his money problems.
His defence team says the incident was a theft gone wrong with tragic consequences.