KUALA LUMPUR: The father of a prisoner, who died in Sungai Buloh prison after he was attacked by a group of inmates, has been awarded more than RM400,000 in damages and other expenses by a High Court here.
Justice Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad awarded the quantum of damages to M. Ghaur Chandram, 57, in chambers in the presence of Federal Counsel H. S. Huam and Ghaur Chandram’s counsel Arnold Andrew.
Andrew told reporters later that Justice Hasmat granted Ghaur Chandram RM100,000 in general and exemplary damages each, RM192,000 in special damages, RM5,000 for probate and RM4,000 for funeral expenses.
He also said the judge had instructed the defendants to pay RM60,000 in costs.
Huam said she would file an appeal against the quantum of damages.
On Feb 12, Justice Nik Hasmat ruled that Ghaur Chandram had succeeded in proving his claim against the defendants.
She said there was a breach of care on the part of the defendants and that the deceased G. Uthayachandran had died in the custody of prison authorities.
Justice Nik Hasmat said one of the doors on the ground floor of the prison was not closed, thus enabling other prisoners to attack him.
She said there were between six and seven wardens who were not equipped with certain prison equipment to supervise over 700 inmates in the prison.
“The deceased died due to a direct result of the attack on him by fellow inmates.
“The court rules that there was breach of care and degree of negligence on the part of the defendants.
“Accordingly, I allow the plaintiff’s claim of special damages for funeral expenses and loss of dependency, exemplary and general damages to be assessed later,” she said.
In his suit filed on June 1, 2009, Ghaur Chandram had named the Home Ministry’s secretary-general, the Sungai Buloh prison director, the prison hospital’s medical officer, wardens Mohd Rosaizi and Tuan Azhar Mohd and the Government as defendants.
Ghaur Chandram, who was a taxi driver, sought RM3.6mil in general and exemplary damages and interest for the general and special damages.
In his statement of claim, Ghaur Chandram alleged that the second, third, fourth and fifth respondents, who were responsible at the prison, were negligent until his son was beaten to death by a group of prisoners.
He claimed that the respondents had failed or refused to inform his family on his son’s death although Uthayachandran’s welfare was their responsibility.
Uthayachandran was detained for a drug-related case and died on May 18, 2008.