KUALA LUMPUR: A former police constable acted on his own in the assault of suspected car thief A. Kugan, who died while in police custody, a High Court here heard Wednesday.
Senior Federal Counsel Azizan Md Arshad, representing the police and Government, said V. Navindran, 33, had beaten up Kugan when he was supposed to take care of him after his arrest.
"The decision to charge Navindran clearly shows that he did not carry out his official duty as a police officer but he acted on his own," Azizan submitted in the RM100mil civil suit filed by Kugan's mother N. Indra against the police and the Government over his death.
On Jan 13 last year, Indra filed the suit seeking damages over alleged negligence, assault, false imprisonment and misfeasance of public office as well as breach of statutory duties.
Indra, 46, named then Selangor police chief Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who is now Inspector-General of Police, Navindran, former Subang Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar (deceased), the Inspector-General of Police and the Government as defendants.
Azizan said Navindran had gone beyond the order given to him to take care of Kugan and beaten him up for between five and 10 minutes.
(Navindran is appealing his three-year jail term imposed by the Shah Alam Sessions Court in June last year for causing hurt to Kugan.)
SFC Azizan said the evidence showed that other police officers had taken steps to prevent Navindran from continuing to beat Kugan.
"It is submitted that the liability should be on the basis of 100% to the second defendant (Navindran), and Khalid, Zainal Rashid, the IGP and Government are not liable," he argued.
SFC Azizan argued that the evidence by Navindran was an afterthought and hearsay.
"He (Navindran) was just blaming others for making him a scapegoat rather than challenge the evidence adduced by them," he said.
He said there was no cover up by Khalid or other policemen as Navindran was charged after a full investigation was carried out in the case.
He suggested that reasonable amount to be awarded by the court to the plaintiff was only RM77,300.50 in total damages and RM20,000 in costs.
However, Navindran's counsel R. Ramesh Sivakumar, argued that the police has rushed to judgment and engaged in a conspiracy to frame his client due to massive public outcry.
Ramesh submitted that Navindran did not cause Kugan's death and that Kugan had died under mysterious circumstances.
He said law enforcement officers with supervisory powers should be held individually liable for acts of their subordinates.
Indra's lead counsel R. Sivarasa argued that Navindran had breached his duty to safeguard Kugan by assaulting him while in custody.
Sivarasa proposed that his client be awarded RM5.2mil, including for assault and battery, unlawful killing, false imprisonment and misfeasance of public office as well as RM150,000 in costs.
High Court judge Justice V.T. Singham set June 19 to deliver his decision.
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