Monday, August 11, 2014

Cops were judge and jury in Kugan's case

Cops were judge and jury in Kugan’s case

August 11, 2014FMT
The Court of Appeal said the police force was
"on trial" and to allow them to determine what ought to be done was
simply asking the wrong-doers to do their own investigation.
The police took on the roles of judge and jury over a complaint lodged
against their behaviour in the case of luxury car theft suspect A.
Kugan, who died in police custody about five years ago.

The Court of Appeal in its 51-page written judgment said this conduct
missed the point completely and that it was the police force at that
point in time which was “on trial”.

“And, to allow the police to determine what ought to be done was
simply asking the wrong-doers to do their own investigation and
determine the appropriate action.

“Common sense militates against such a course of action,” said Justice David Wong Dak Wah, in the judgment today.

He said the panel was also rather perturbed by the admission of first
defendant (Khalid Abu Bakar, former Selangor police chief and current
Inspector-General of Police) that he had negotiated with the
attorney-general that investigation was to be confined to an offence
under Section 330 of the Penal Code.

The section deals with offences of voluntarily causing hurt to extort confessions or to compel restoration of property.

Wong said this was an affront to the concept of fair play and
transparency and the police had become judge and jury of a complaint
made against their behaviour.

In a unanimous ruling, the panel headed by Justice Mohamad Ariff Md
Yusof, which also comprised Justice Mah Weng Kwai, held that where there
was custodial death, the family of the deceased was entitled to know
the truth as to what had happened during the detention.

“That is their intrinsic right to know. This entitlement to know can
be easily understood by just asking the simple question: What if it is
your 22-year-old son who had died in custody?” asked Wong.

He stressed that custodial death could not and should not happen in
this country and that there should be zero tolerance for any custodial
death at all remand centres.

Therefore, the panel upheld a High Court decision which found the
police force, former police constable V. Navindran and the government
liable for Kugan’s death while under police custody in January 2009.

However, the court reduced the amount of damages from RM801,700 to
RM701,700 after setting aside RM100,000 for false imprisonment awarded
by the High Court last year.

Wong said as for quantum of the exemplary damages, there was no
reason to disturb the award granted by the High Court judge as it
commensurated with the actions of the defendants.

High Court Judge V. T. Singham, in his decision on June 26 last year,
awarded Kugan’s mother, N. Indra, RM851,700 in damages for assault and
battery, false imprisonment, misfeasance, pain and suffering after
finding that the plaintiff had established her claim against the

On January 13, 2012, Indra filed a civil suit against then-Selangor
police chief Khalid, Navindran, former Subang Jaya police chief ACP
Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar (now deceased), the then-Inspector-General of
Police and the government.

Kugan, 22, died at the Taipan USJ police station on January 20, 2009.

Last year, Navindran was the only one held responsible for Kugan’s death and sentenced to three years’ jail.

– Bernama

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