Custodial death of son, mother wins case

Posted: October 24, 2010 in News
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Source : Malaysiakini

Eight long years after losing her son while in police custody, a mother could find some consolation when a court ordered the government yesterday to pay damages for negligence by a court.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court’s Judicial Commissioner Harminder Singh Dhaliwal, had found the police liable for negligence in the death of R Sundar Raju at the Klang police station.

“The plaintiff’s claim is allowed with costs, and damages are to be assessed by the senior assistant registrar,” Harminder ruled.

R U Muthammal, the mother, and R Dharmarajan, the deceased’s brother, had named then Klang OCPD ACP A Paramasivam, Selangor police chief, the Inspector General of Police and the government as the defendants.

Sundara Raju, 32, a lorry attendant was arrested on Nov 11, 2002 and was remanded at the Klang district police lock-up, after his wife complained of domestic violence but wanted him to return to her and stop his drinking ways.

His mysterious death while in police custody had resulted in the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), to probe the death and it had visited the cell the same year.

Assaulted to death by nine inmates

The family claimed that police had assaulted Sundara Raju, during interrogation. When he was placed back in his cell, he was assaulted by nine other inmates sending him into a coma brought about by severe head and bodily injuries.

He died three days after he was hospitalised at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital. Subsequently, the inmates were charged and pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the Shah Alam High Court.

Lawyer M Manoharan who is also Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson, had submitted that police were negligent in their duties and could have averted the incident, by removing him from the cell which also held hardcore criminals like murderers.

He added that the police personnel’s desk was situated close to the cell, and it was hard to believe they police had heard or saw nothing in preventing the incident.

Manoharan said they were negligent in ensuring the safety of the detainees, taking action to ensure his safety, detaining more than 10 person in a cell measuring 6 metres by 3 metres, failing to maintain law and order in the lock-up, and failing to perform their duties up to legitimate expectations.

He also said police had the control over the lock-up and were duty bound to ensure his safety.

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