Guard to hang over fatal shooting of Ambank officer

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia - An Indonesian security guard was sentenced to death for the fatal shooting of an Ambank officer while she was opening a safe inside the bank.

La Ode Ardi Rasila, 37, was also ordered to be hanged for committing robbery and firing a shot from a pump-action shotgun with the intention to kill Norazita Abdul Talib, 37, on Oct 23 last year.

He showed no reaction upon hearing the High Court verdict.

In his judgment, High Court judge Justice Akhtar Tahir held that La Ode had wilfully fired the shot.

"It is clear from my observation of the CCTV recording that the accused pointed the pump gun at the victim before firing the shot," he said.

"If he had just wanted to get the attention of two bank officers who were in the vault room that day (as he claimed in his defence), he could have pointed the gun in other directions.

"The accused wilfully fired the shot and had full knowledge of how to use the gun."

Justice Akhtar said the conduct of the accused before, during and after the shooting, as well as his admission in court, showed that there had been a plan to rob the bank.

"This is not a spontaneous robbery case," he said.

He said the accused also dragged an officer out of the vault and then took the cash and rushed out of the bank.

Furthermore, Justice Akhtar said, expert evidence found that the shotgun was functioning properly, thus La Ode's testimony about a defective weapon could not be accepted.

La Ode had claimed trial in February to the offences, which took place at an AmBank branch in Subang Jaya between 6pm and 6.30pm on Oct 23 last year.

At the outset of court proceedings yesterday, his lawyer S. Selvi, appointed by the Indonesian Embassy, said her client was remorseful and that he had apologised to the victim's family and other bank officers, as well as to his former employer whose security firm licence was revoked by the GovernĀ­ment.

"He also did not know that his wife was then pregnant with their fourth child," she added.

Outside the courtroom later, Selvi said La Ode was very sad over the verdict and that she would appeal against the court ruling.

Speaking to reporters, Norazita's husband, driver Irwan Kamarudin, 38, said he was satisfied with the verdict.

He said their two children - a 13-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son - still had difficulty accepting that their mother had died.

"We have been waiting for this judgment. It is justice for her death," he added.

DPP Mohd Azari Harun, assisted by DPP Muhamad Asyraf Md Kamal, had called 24 prosecution witnesses to testify in the case.

Lawyer Ravin Jay Kumar held a watching brief for the bank officer's family.