The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Video Tape: Day 2 Afternoon

The proceedings of the second day of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Video Tape resumed at 2.30 this afternoon. I covered the afternoon proceedings for the Bar website, and you can hop over to the Bar website to read Day 1 morning, Day 1 afternoon and Day 2 morning.While the afternoon’s events were mainly focused on the video and audio analysis of the video clips, an interesting exchange was between one of the Commissioners, Datuk Mahadev Shankar, and Thayalan, Counsel for VK Lingam. Read below to find out more.A voice sample of Dato’ VK Lingam had been obtained for a voice comparison with the video clip.

Wan Zulkifli bin Wan Jusoh, the head of the forensic technology division of the ACA, took the stand. The witness testified that he had downloaded a 14-minute long video clip which involved a lawyer on 18 December 2007. On 26 December 2007, under the instructions of Madam Chua Lay Choo, he handed a copy of the video clip on a CD over to Mohamed Zabri Adil bin Talib, an analyst from Cyber Security Malaysia.

The witness also stated that on 11 October 2007, he had also handed over a 8-minute long copy of a video clip over to Mohamed Zabri. This 8-minute video clip had been passed to the ACA by lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah. Having viewed both the 14-minute and the 8-minute video clips, the witness then answered that the 8-minute clip was contained in the 14-minute one.

When queried regarding whether he had received any voice samples on 8 January 2008, the witness answered yes and that he had received voice samples from Moses a/l Lawrence, an ACA officer. The witness continued that he had received one DVD containing 22 voice samples from Malaysian residents, and 1 CD containing Dato’ Lingam’s voice sample. Dato’ Lingam’s voice sample had been obtained by Moses.

When the witness received the DVD, it was marked as “voice samples”, and had both the date 8 January 2008 and Moses’ signature. The witness confirmed the DVD in court and was marked as evidence. The CD was marked as “voice sample 2”, again with the date 8 January 2008 and with Moses’ signature. The CD was marked as evidence.

When the witness was asked about the purpose of these voice samples, he answered that these voice samples were to be handed over to Cyber Security Malaysia in order for them to do a comparison with the voice from the 14-minute video clip.

On 8 January 2008, he had handed over the DVD and the CD to Mohamed Zabri. On the same day, the two of them, along with an ACA officer and two officers from Cyber Security Malaysia, had flown to Agnitio S.L., a biometric laboratory in Madrid, Spain. The purpose of the visit was to conduct a voice comparison in that laboratory. The witness testified that Mohamed Zabri conducted the voice comparison and that the results of the voice comparison were positive.

R. Thayalan then posed a few questions to the witness. The witness stated that he had downloaded the 14-minute video clip from and confirmed that the 14-minute video clip put in evidence was not the original video clip, and was from the internet. He further clarified that nothing had been done to the 14-minute clip to make the image clearer or to improve the audio quality. When queried regarding whether any other tests had been conducted in the Spain laboratory, the witness confirmed that only a voice comparison test had been carried out.

The video clips were authentic

The witness was then released and the fifth witness, Zabri Adil bin Talib, was called. He was a digital forensic analyst from Cyber Security Malaysia. After providing some brief history on his academic and professional qualifications, along with the scope of his work, Zabri confirmed that on 11 October 2007, he received a CD from Wan Zulkifli which was marked as “the CJ Tape”. The CD contained a video clip of length 8 minutes and 20 seconds. On 26 December 2007, he received a CD from Wan Zulkifli which contained a video clip of length 14 minutes and 15 seconds.

On 8 January 2008, he confirmed that he had received a DVD, containing voice samples, and a C, which contained one voice sample. Having examined the DVD and the CD in evidence, the witness confirmed that these were the items he had received, and he confirmed the markings on the DVD and the CD.

The witness then stated that he had done an analysis on all these items, the 3 CDs and the 1 DVD, and had written a report of his findings. The witness then explained that a video analysis had been carried out on both the 8-minute and 14-minute video clips and he had found that these video clips were authentic and had not been tampered with. Further, an audio analysis had been carried out on these video clips and again he found that the audio had not been tampered with. The conclusion, as stated in his report, was that these video clips were authentic.

The witness then gave evidence regarding his trip to the Spain laboratory. He had brought along 2 CDs, a CD – marked as “voice sample 2”, and a DVD – marked as “voice samples.” On 9 January 2008, the voice analysis was carried out at the laboratory. The witness explained briefly on the scientific procedure behind the voice comparison carried out.

The automatic speaker recognition system would compare the ‘unknown voice sample’, being the voice sample taken from the 14-minute video clip, with the ‘known voice sample’, being the voice sample taken from the CD marked as “voice sample 2”. His report stated that the likelihood ratio generated from this comparison was 185 – which fell into the strong support category. The witness explained that such a category indicated that the voice sample was concrete enough to be accepted by a Court. The likelihood-ratio of 185 indicated that the ‘unknown voice sample’ originated from the same source as the ‘known voice sample’.

R Thayalan, Dato’ Lingam’s Counsel: “It looks like him and it sounds like him.”

As R. Thayalan stood up to ask the witness some questions, Datuk Mahadev Shankar then posed the question to Thayalan whether it was his client’s position that he was not the person in the video clip. “Is it him or not him?”

Thayalan then answered that he had been instructed that the person in the video looks like his client and sounds like his client, and that was all.

He would have to take further instructions. Datuk Shankar then posed a second question, that by having read the transcript of the conversation in the video clip, was Dato’ Lingam saying that he did not say what was said in the conversation? The first question was in relation to the image while the second was in relation to the content of the conversation.

Thayalan again had to answer that he had no instructions on this, and he had no answer at the moment.

Tan Sri Steve Shim then interjected and asked Thayalan how could he not have instructions at this stage. Tan Sri Steve Shim pointed out that Thayalan had earlier suggested that the tape was doctored and Tan Sri then queried him whether those were questions were put on instructions. Thayalan answered that his instructions were that part of the tape may have been edited. Datuk Shankar then went on to ask that if Dato’ Lingam has not given instructions, on what basis could Thayalan then proceed to question the witnesses. He answered that he was only questioning on the authenticity of the tape.

Ranjit Singh, Counsel for the Bar Council, then asked the witness a question as to whether the witness was aware that the ‘known voice sample’ was that of Dato’ Lingam. The witness then answered that he was not aware.

Tan Sri Steve Shim referred the witness to the summary of his report, which made reference to facial recognition technology. The witness clarified that while America had facial recognition technology, Cyber Security Malaysia has yet to purchase such technology. In answer to whether it was possible to send the video clip over to America, the witness answered that it was not as simple as that, as they would have to establish contacts like they did for the Spain laboratory.

The proceedings continue tomorrow morning with further questioning of the witness.


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