Kovan murder accused took urgent leave on day he allegedly killed two men
His excuse to supervisor was that he needed to sort out finances
On the day he is alleged to have killed two men, police officer Iskandar Rahmat took urgent leave from his night shift, his supervisor said.
After he went on the run, he sent more messages saying that he wanted to quit the police force and had run away to Malaysia because he was going to be made a bankrupt.
It was only after Iskandar had been arrested for a double murder that his supervisor was told about it.
Iskandar, 36, is accused of murdering car workshop owner Tan Boon Sin, 67, and his son Tan Chee Heong, 42, at the older Mr Tan's home at 14J, Hillside Drive, on the afternoon of July 10, 2013.
The police officer, who had been put on administrative duties because of his financial problems, fled to Malaysia at about 11pm the same day.
He was arrested two days later at a popular Johor Baru eatery.
Taking the stand on the fourth day of Iskandar's murder trial yesterday, Senior Station Inspector (SSI) Nurussufyan Ali described Iskandar as a "good worker", someone who was "efficient and knowledgeable about work processes".
SSI Nurussufyan knew about Iskandar's financial problems only when he was told to escort his subordinate to a police disciplinary hearing in April.
During a second hearing on July 3, 2013, Iskandar had told disciplinary officers that his "cousin" would be lending him money to clear his $50,000 debt with OCBC Bank, which had started bankruptcy proceedings against him. He was also sure that the amount would be reduced and that he could pay it off.
SSI Nurussufyan said that after the hearing, he repeatedly asked Iskandar if he would be able to clear the debt and Iskandar had assured him of it, saying that his "cousin" would be loaning him the money.
Investigations have shown that no such cousin exists.
Despite the internal probe, Iskandar never allowed it to affect his work, SSI Nurussufyan said, adding that his subordinate even organised a gathering for the team of 35 and paid for the chalet.
Both men were to be on the night shift on July 10, 2013. But at 5.59pm, Iskandar sent SSI Nurussufyan a text message, saying he had to sort out matters with his "cousin". He asked for urgent leave. This was just two hours after he allegedly killed Mr Tan Boon Sin and his son.
SSI Nurussufyan replied to Iskandar and asked him to check with the manpower officer if there were enough officers on duty.
That evening at about 9.35pm, he texted Iskandar to approve his leave and to ask if everything was all right.
Iskandar replied about 45 minutes later, saying that he was still speaking to his "cousin".
On July 12 at 8.49pm, Iskandar texted SSI Nurussufyan to say that he had missed the court date for his bankruptcy hearing and knew that he was going to be made a bankrupt.
He said he was running away to Malaysia and told his supervisor he wanted to resign from the police force.
SSI Nurussufyan said: "I tried to advise him that he can sort out the matter and that he could approach the Police Cooperative or Police Welfare for help, but he refused the advice."
Iskandar was arrested by Malaysian police later that evening.
During cross examination, it was revealed that both men were not close socially and SSI Nurussufyan had little idea about his subordinate's state of affairs.
When asked if he was concerned about Iskandar - a career police officer on the investigation track being sent to work an office-bound job - SSI Nurussufyan said: "Frankly, it's not my concern. To me (Iskandar's background in investigative work) is an advantage to the team...
"Like I said, (what he thought of the posting) is not my concern. My concern is to make the team work."
I tried to advise him (the accused, Iskandar Rahmat) that he can sort out the matter and that he could approach the Police Cooperative or Police Welfare for help, but he refused the advice.
- Senior Station Inspector (SSI) Nurussufyan Ali
Marks on accused's hand not from bites
More holes were poked into the defence team's case yesterday when a forensic dentist said the injuries on Iskandar's palm were not bite marks.
This comes after forensic pathologist Gilbert Lau on Monday rejected the defence team's suggestion that Iskandar's attacks on Mr Tan Boon Sin and Mr Tan Chee Heong were in self-defence.
He had said that if that had been so, there would have been no need for Iskandar to allegedly stab Mr Tan Boon Sin 12 times and then slit his throat.
In court yesterday, Dr Tan Peng Hui, who is trained in forensic odontology, said Iskandar's wounds did not have the usual features seen in a mark left by a human bite.
"Human bites would see individual tooth marks, rectangular or linear marks that resemble the biting edges of front teeth," Dr Tan said, adding that there were no signs of this in the injury on Iskandar's left palm.
It had earlier been mentioned in court that Iskandar claimed he was bitten and that his attack on Mr Tan Boon Sin and Mr Tan Chee Heong was in self-defence to being attacked.
But despite being pressed by defence lawyer Shashi Nathan, Dr Tan maintained his view that the injuries were not bite marks, despite his opinion being contrary to another doctor's.
Said Dr Tan: "If (there had been) any contact with teeth, even in a struggle, one will see scratch marks... But there were none of these to suggest there had been any contact with the teeth. With the lip and the mouth maybe, but there's no way of telling."
Another orthopaedic surgeon who testified confirmed Mr Tan Boon Sin's severe osteoarthritis.
Dr Brian Lee, who first saw Mr Tan in October 2011, said an X-ray had shown complete degeneration of the cartilage. The condition would have given him trouble walking, running and even getting up from a sitting position.
When asked by Mr Nathan if Mr Tan had trouble swinging his arms, Dr Lee said it would depend on the position he was in and whether he had to brace his knees to get into a steady position.