Custodial death: Court awards RM281,300 to family of detainee

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The High Court here has awarded RM281,300 in damages to the family of Benedict Thanilas, who died while in police custody four years ago.

Judicial Commissioner Quay Chew Soon made the order on damages for the deceased’s wife N. Janagi and daughter B. Angeline after allowing the lawsuit against the government during an online proceeding on Monday (Sept 13).

The family had filed the suit against 23 members of the police force, the Inspector-General of Police and the government of Malaysia in July last year.

The family claimed that the death of Benedict, 44, who had several health issues, was due to police negligence in ensuring the deceased had access to his medicines and other medical care while in custody.

The family’s lawyer M. Visvanathan said the court award included RM4,000 for funeral expenses, RM30,000 for bereavement, RM91,800 in dependency claim, RM50,000 in damages for pain and suffering, and RM100,000 in aggravated damages.

“The court also ordered the defendants to pay RM40,000 in costs to the plaintiffs,” he said, adding that the court did not award any damages for misfeasance in public office in this case.

Benedict was reportedly arrested by police from the Jinjang district headquarters on June 29, 2017 to facilitate the probe of a drug trafficking case and held in the Jinjang police central lockup.

He was rushed to Kuala Lumpur Hospital for breathing difficulty on July 10 the same year but died shortly afterwards.

Last year, coroner Mahyon Talib ruled that there had been negligence and dereliction of duty by the police leading to Benedict's death. – Bernama

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