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Friday, April 21, 2017

AG rapped over repeat failure to convict over Dharmendran's death

The attorney-general (AG) has been asked to explain why his department has failed to secure a conviction in the custodial death case of N Dharmendran.
This follows another acquittal of the four policemen charged for his murder, this time by the Court of Appeal this Tuesday, April 18, said the family's lawyer N Surendran.
"The police, being the body who carried out the investigation, as well as the AG's Chambers which prosecuted the case, must accept full responsibility for the continuing failure of justice in this case.
"I call upon the inspector-general of police (IGP) and the AG to explain the failure to obtain justice in the case of Dharmendran.
"Both the family, and the Malaysian public are entitled to answers," said Surendran in a statement today.
This January, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur set aside the judgment in default obtained by the widow of Dharmendran, who died in police custody in 2013, against four policemen.
On February 26, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court acquittal and ordered the four to enter their defence, according to The Sun.
A three-member bench led by justice Mohtaruddin Baki allowed the prosecution's appeal, saying there was overwhelming circumstantial evidence to implicate the policemen, reported the daily at the time.
However the policemen walked free again on Tuesday.
According to Free Malaysia Today, the decision of the Court of Appeal judges was unanimous.
“The court found there is no reason to interfere with the findings of the High Court judge on the acquittal,” Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, the lawyer for one of the accused Jaffri Jaafar, was reported as saying.
'Appeal to Federal Court'
With the latest decision this week, Surendran lamented four years on since the 32-year-old's death in a police lock-up, "no policeman has been held to account for the brutal murder".
"How is it that the police investigators and the prosecutors have failed to obtain even a single conviction despite the clear facts and evidence in this case?
"The post-mortem report conclusively stated that Dharmendran died from multiple blunt force trauma, including having his ears stapled as a form of torture.
"There is also no doubt that the death occurred in police custody, which means that the identity of the policemen who had access to the victim would be known to investigators.

"How then could they fail to secure even a single conviction?" asked the lawyer.
Surendran urged the prosecution to appeal the acquittals at the Federal Court level.
Deaths in custody remain a serious problem, with Klang MP Charles Santiago noting that the latest death of another detainee S Balamurugan this year takes the custodial deaths toll since 2000 to 243.- Mkini

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