Police ridiculed schoolboy, says lawyer

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 06 Jul 2004

SEREMBAN: Police ridiculed a schoolboy, one of eight accused of murdering their schoolmate, during interrogation, a High Court heard. 

Counsel Haresh Mahadevan claimed that the boy was told things like “You are a PAS fighter who likes to kill people” and when he failed to give the “correct” answer, he was asked to slap his own face. 

He was questioning investigating officer Deputy Supt Zaba Abdul Rahman in a trial-within-a-trial to challenge the admissibility of the boy’s cautioned statement. 

Haresh: “Were you present at the time when a chief inspector said: You are a PAS fighter who likes to kill people? 

DSP Zaba: I wasn’t there. 

Haresh: Were you aware that a policeman, while questioning my client from 8am to noon, asked him to slap his own face when he was not happy with his reply? 

DSP Zaba: I do not know. 

The eight Form Five students of SM Agama Datuk Klana Petra Maamor are jointly charged with murdering Muhammad Farid Ibrahim, 16, at the Osman dormitory in Ampangan, here, between 10.30am and 4.15pm on March 28. 

The charge under Section 302 of the Penal Code carries the mandatory death penalty, upon conviction. However, as juveniles, they would escape capital punishment. 

Haresh said that despite staying in a separate cell, the boy was sharing a toilet with four adult detainees, including a murder suspect and this caused him to give a statement “involuntarily.”Justice Azhar Ma’ah then rebuked the lawyer, telling him not to stretch his imagination “too far.”  

Haresh said his client and the other accused were wearing the same clothes for three days, slept on a bunk and were unable to brush their teeth. 

He said police failed to follow the Child Act in informing the parents or guardians immediately after the arrests and to shield them from the press during remand proceedings. 

DSP Zaba disagreed with the lawyer’s contention that the accused were in “trauma,” as they were quiet and looked “normal” when he visited them. 

Justice Azhar later ticked off the registrar for refusing to release the notes of remand proceedings to Haresh, who wanted to find out why the police had to seek two remand extensions on his client. 

At the outset, DSP Zaba told DPP Roslan Abu Bakar, during examination-in-chief, that there was no attempt to “force, threaten or persuade” the accused to give a caution statement at any time. 

The hearing continues today.  

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