Countdown to Kugan verdict, top cop in focus
No less than the top cop in the country, the Inspector General of Police himself, is under the spotlight.
High Court judge Datuk V.T. Singham delivers his judgment today on the negligence suit by the family of A. Kugan, who died while in police custody in 2009.
During the civil trial, the judge had said Khalid should have held a press conference to clarify matters surrounding Kugan's death. Khalid had, in the first press conference, said Kugan died because of water in his lungs. But a second postmortem revealed that Kugan, 22, was beaten severely, starved in prison and died of kidney failure.
The court also heard that Khalid did not hold another press conference to clarify this. Nor did he recommend an inquest. There was also no internal inquiry by the police.
Kugan's family has filed an RM100 million claim against the police and the government, but specifically against Khalid, alleging that he tried to cover up the cause of Kugan's death.
Kugan’s mother, N. Indra, named one of the victim’s interrogating officers, former constable V. Navindran, as a defendant, among others. The mother alleged that the defendants failed to ensure the safety, health and welfare of Kugan while he was in police custody. Kugan, then 22, was arrested in Puchong on Jan 14, 2009, and held overnight at the Puchong Jaya police lock-up before police obtained a remand order.
He was brought to the Taipan USJ, Subang Jaya police station two days later for questioning, but was found dead another four days later.
Navindran was the only one held responsible for Kugan's death. He was convicted and sentenced to three years' jail. He is appealing his conviction.
In the civil suit, Navindran claimed he was only a scapegoat and alleged that there were 12 others involved in Kugan's interrogation. Ten witnesses testified in the trial before Judge Singham.
There have been 122 cases of deaths in police custody in the past 10 years by the police’s own account. But opposition figures have charged that there has been nearly double that number of deaths in the past two-and-half years alone, giving this figure as 211.
So Kugan’s case has touched a raw nerve in the country and the case is expected to be watched closely today by concerned Malaysians. - June 26, 2013.