Friday, October 2, 2009

Kugan's case: Cop charged, pleads not guilty - Malaysiakini

Nine months after A Kugan died in police custody, constable V Navindran was charged at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court today with causing hurt to the 23-year-old detainee.

Navindran claimed trial to two counts of causing "grievous hurt" while trying to extract a confession or extract any information to secure a conviction on two separate occasions on Jan 16.

Alternatively, he was accused of causing "hurt"to Kugan.

kugan court case 011009 uthayakumar.jpgThe alleged offences took place at the interrogation room of the Taipan police station in USJ, Subang Jaya-- the first at 7am and the second at 4pm.

If found guilty of causing "grievous hurt", he is liable to a fine and a jail term of up to 10 years, while for "causing hurt," the maximum sentence is seven years.

DPP Idham Abdul Ghani requested that the bail be set at RM10,000 with one surety.

Navindran, 28, who looked unperturbed during the proceedings is represented by a team of three lawyers led by Sallehuddin Saidin.

The others are Suraj Singh and Rajpal Singh while lawyer Gobind Singh Deo is holding a watching brief for the Kugan family.

Kugan's grandmother, mother, aunt and uncle along with close relatives were present in court to catch a glimpse of the man allegedly responsible for his death.

Sallehuddin submitted that his client is married and with a child. He is a constable and had cooperated with the police in their investigations and was present in court of his own free will.

"Being a constable there is less chance of him absconding bail. I would like to suggest bail at RM1,000 with one surety as his uncle is willing to post bail."

Idham told the court that the offence was serious and had attracted wide media coverage.

Sessions judge Aslam Zainuddin set bail at RM10,000 for both charges and fixed Nov 5 for mention.

Navindran, wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt and blue denim jeans, entered the court about 9.25am.

He was said to have arrived at 6.30am at the newly renovated Petaling Jaya court complex, to evade photographers.

Police light strike force personnel were present behind the court complex maintain security.

Navidran was attached to Taipan but has since been transferred to the Shah Alam Police Contingent Headquarters.

Gobind: Legalising police brutality

kugan court case 011009 gobind singh.jpgGobind (left), when met outside the court, said he and his client's family were disappointed that the other policemen who had been involved are not facing any prosecution.

"I will write to the Attorney General to seek a clarification why others who allegedly were involved in the beating were not charged, just one. I do not find the Attorney General's explanation convincing.

"You cannot imagine the suffering that Kugan went through in his ordeal under the hands of these men who were trying to extract a confession. I also do not believe this is the work of one person," he said.

Gobind who is also Puchong MP objected to Section 330 and 331 of the Penal Code, as it seems to be legalising police brutality in extracting confessions.

He said this has to stop as innocent people are being killed with such harsh interrogation tactics.

"I will bring this matter up in parliament for the MPs to deliberate the reviewing of the two sections," he said.

Gobind said the prosecutors should have charged Navindran with murder and not a lesser charge.

"Why not charge him with murder and let the court decide whether to move to a lesser charge?," he asked.

No murder charge

Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail in a press statement yesterday said Navindran was to be charged under Section 331 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extort confession from the deceased and alternatively Section 330 for voluntarily causing hurt to extort a confession from him.

lingam tape panel meeting 031007 abdul gani patailAccording to Abdul Gani (right), out of 92 witnesses questioned by the police, four identified Navindran as the one who had inflicted the injuries on Kugan on those occasions.

"On both occasions, the suspect was said to have beaten the deceased with a rubber hose and four days later Kugan met his death," he said.

Abdul Gani also took pains to explain why Navindran was not charged with murder.

"There is no evidence that the deceased suffered instant death. Instead, the deceased died four days after the alleged beating.

"Therefore, there was a wide gap in between and a charge of murder could not be preferred against the suspect.

"The finding of the medical report did not show that the deceased died due to the injuries suffered by him. But the result of acute myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart," he said.

Kugan died on Jan 20 at the USJ Taipan police station, five days after he was arrested.

Malaysiakini, was among the first media which highlighted the incident, resulting in a public outcry.

Kugan's grandmother G Muthama, 62, said she cried daily haunted by the memory of the manner in which her grandson had died.

'The law is dead'

kugan court case 011009 grandma g muthamai 2.jpgMuthama (left) said putting up the RM10,000 bail money was nothing compared to the loss of a life.

"The police are supposed to protect the people and now we see them beating others to extort confessions. How can this be? What sort of police and government do we have?" asked Muthama.

"What about the rest of the policemen who took part in the beatings why are they not charged? I want to see all of them charged with 302 (murder) and not this."

Kugan's auntie S Renuka, 31, also questioned the high handed police action in arresting him.

"They arrested him on allegations of car theft. However, after six months and Kugan's death, they said there is no case against him.

"To make matters worse, Kugan's valuables including jewellery kept in his car and also his pants and shirt are all missing."

"How can we be satisfied as we had lost a loved one and only one person is charged," Renuka said.

N Indra, who is Kugan's mother was also present but did not speak to the press.

MS Mahendran, 47, another uncle of Kugan's, remarked sarcastically that this was the 1Malaysia called by the country's leaders.

"If this was truly 1Malaysia, they should be fair to everyone. We are also human but why is the law not acting for us in seeking justice for Kugan. The law is dead."