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10 APRIL 2024

Friday, December 31, 2021

‘Unconstitutional’ to charge 5th man in Nhaveen’s murder, says defence


The accused being led out of the High Court in George Town today.

GEORGE TOWN: A lawyer for the accused in the T Nhaveen murder trial today objected against a new person being charged with the 18-year-old’s murder in 2017, saying it was unconstitutional.

Ranjit Singh Dhillon told the High Court that S Gopinaath, a brother of one of the four initial suspects, was charged with murder after his remand application had expired.

He said Gopinaath, 30, was released from remand at noon yesterday, but was then charged with murder on the same day at 2.30pm.

Ranjit said such a move smacked of “prosecutorial arrogance” and one that was against the Federal Constitution concerning liberties and freedom of a person.

“Gopinaath was free (by then). He should not have been in shackles after. He should be released forthwith.

Arun Ganesh Boopalan (left), who is holding a watching brief for T Nhaveen’s family, with activist Arun Dorasamy at court.

“We seek a ruling by the court that all proceedings (related to Gopinaath) must fall as the new charge took place after his remand expired. We also seek that bail be offered to my client,” he said.

‘Murder charge well within remand period’

Deputy public prosecutor Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim said Gopinaath was arrested on Wednesday (Dec 29) at 8.10pm and later remanded for a day.

He said the remand did not have an exact expiry time but was a day-long one. Hence, the remand would end on Thursday at midnight (Dec 30).

“The prosecution’s charge against the accused was way before midnight Thursday. Therefore, it was well within the remand application and was not charged before its expiry,” he said.

In response, Ranjit said the prosecution had missed his point, as Gopinaath was released before the remand expired. He said a dangerous precedent was being set if the court allowed it.

After a recess, judicial commissioner Mohd Radzi Abdul Hamid said the court management system data showed Gopinaath was given a one-day remand at 11.19am yesterday.

Radzi said Gopinaath was charged well within the remand period and ruled the claim that the prosecution had erred did not hold water.

Murder charge merged with that for grievous assault

The court then charged Gopinaath with Nhaveen’s murder. The prosecution had earlier applied for the case to be transferred from the magistrates’ court to the High Court.

Gopinaath then pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The court also allowed the murder charge to be merged with the charge of grievous assault. The assault charge concerns T Previin, 23, who suffered severe injuries to his face after being bashed with helmets.

Radzi then adjourned the proceedings, setting March 8 and 9 to hear the murder and assault case.

Gopinaath, J Ragesuthan, 22, S Gokulan, 22, and two others have been charged with Nhaveen’s murder. The other two unnamed persons were juveniles when the offence took place.

They are accused of committing the offence under Section 302 of the Penal Code at the Jalan Bunga Raya park on June 9, 2017 between 11pm and midnight.

The four are also accused of committing grievous assault against Previin near the Karpal Singh Learning Centre, Jalan Kaki Bukit, Bukit Gelugor, between 11pm and midnight under Section 326 of the Penal Code.

Mohd Amril Johari, Noor Azura Zulkiflee and Yazid Mustaqim Roslan also prosecuted.

Maanveer Singh Dhillon also appeared for the defence.

Arun Ganesh Boopalan held a watching brief for Nhaveen’s family. Mardhiyyah Johari appeared for the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam). - FMT

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