Saturday, October 3, 2009

Court orders cops to show seized Kugan material

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, Oct 2 –The High Court here today ordered police to produce toxicology samples of A. Kugan, who died in police custody, before the magistrate's court next Friday.

The samples were seized by police from the University Malaya Medical Centre on April 6 when they raided the office of the pathologist who had conducted the second post-mortem on the 22-year-old who died on Jan 20.

High Court Judge Datin Yeoh Wee Siam ruled that the search was legal but the police should have produced the samples before a magistrate.

Yeoh said the magistrate on Friday will decide what should be done with the samples and if Kugan's family should keep them.

On May 28 N. Indra, Kugan’s mother, filed an application to compel the police to return all items, documents, tissue samples and bodily fluids which were seized from UMMC pathology department, on April 6.

Kugan died on Jan 20, after five days in police custody. He had been arrested in connection with a string of luxury car thefts.

Following his death, 11 policemen from the Taipan USJ police station was transferred to desk duty but yesterday only a single constable, V.Navindran was charged for causing grievous hurt to Kugan.

Lawyers acting for Kugan’s family told reports that the samples which was taken by the second pathologist was more crucial now, more than ever, because it may proof that Kugan was actually murdered.

They had argued that the samples should not have been seized in the first place and there is no reason for the Government to keep them.

N.Surendran said they been fighting hard get the samples back so it can be sent to chemist in Australia for analysis.

“The decision by the High Court today, was neither a victory or a loss.”

He added that samples rightfully belong to the family who initiated the second post-mortem and had nothing to do with the police case.

Surendran also lashed out at the Attorney-General (AG) for further “tormenting” Kugan’s family by charging only one suspect and even that, not for murder.

According to him, the AG had also used the family’s court applications to get the samples return as an excuse to explain why it took nine months to charge the suspect.

“This is absurd, he instructed for the samples to be seized in the first place and now he blames the family for causing the delay.”

He added the AG’s claim that the delay was also because of an ongoing probe by Malaysia Medical Council (MMC) into Kugan’s death, was not true.

The MMC inquiry is not about Kugan’s death, he said, but into the professional misconduct of the doctor who carried out the first post-mortem.

“I should know, because I was the one who lodged the complaint with MMC,” he said.

The first post-mortem at the Serdang Hospital indicated Kugan died due to water in his lungs but a second one which was carried out by UMMC revealed he suffered massive injuries and this led to concerns of an attempted cover up.

“The AG is just giving excuses but this is obvious.”

Lawyer M. Manogaran, who is also representing Kugan’s family described the Government’s reluctance to return the samples as “disturbing”.

“We believe the samples may prove he was actually murdered,” said Manoharan, who is also Teluk Intan MP.