Court: Lock-up death was cops’ fault

KUALA LUMPUR: The Coroner’s Court has ruled that the death of a lorry driver in a police lock-up two years ago was due to the negligence of police officers.

He died from a heart disease after being deprived of his medication.

“Throughout the entire period of time the deceased was detained, the police had not shown any humane behaviour.

“The police have committed unlawful omission which led to the death of the deceased by not giving him the medication for his disease and for not taking the necessary actions when his life was threatened,” said judge Ahmad Bache.

Chandran Perumal, 47, was found dead in the police lock-up at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters on Sept 10, 2012, at about 7pm after being detained for five days.

He was in remand for being a suspect in a kidnapping case investigated by the Cheras district police headquarters.

The post-mortem revealed that Chandran had died from hypertensive heart disease. He had suffered from high blood pressure and was on daily medication.

Ahmad said the police had refused to cooperate with Chandran’s family members who were trying to give him the medication he needed, by ignoring them.

“This showed that the police do not care about the sick people in remand,” he said.

A cellmate who testified in court said the deceased was behaving abnormally a day before he died, describing him to be raving, jabbering and screaming.

A magistrate had ordered that the deceased be given the necessary treatment on Sept 9, 2012, but no action was taken by the police to send the deceased to the hospital.

The inspector had said in court: “It didn’t occur to me to send the suspect to the hospital.”

Ahmad agreed that the death of Chandran could have been avoided if he had been given his medication.

He also pointed out the failure and dishonesty of police officers when closed-circuit television (CCTV) images showed that the deceased was not moving at 7.48am on the day he died while police reported his death more than 10 hours later.

Images from the CCTV indicated that the deceased was feeling cold and in pain prior to his death in a lock-up without a toilet and bed.

“This is an incompassionate act and the court thinks that the deceased should not have been left to die in such conditions,” said Ahmad.

Chandran was found with injuries to his head which experts estimate occurred five days to a week before he died. It could not be deduced how he was injured.

Chandran’s widow, Sellvi Narayan, 45, said she was happy with the verdict and that she would discuss the next course of action with their lawyer, M. Visvanathan.

Visvanathan told reporters after the verdict that the family would most likely file a civil suit against the police and the Government over Chandran’s death.

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