Death in custody No. 1805 : Day 4 of Gunasegaran’s inquest today

Posted on January 13, 2010

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I had last reported on the inquest proceedings HERE.

The hearing resumes today at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrates Court at the Court Complex of Jalan Duta.

It is scheduled to continue tomorrow and on the 19th and 25th of this month.

I had last promised a report of the proceedings on 16th December.

The same, prepared by one who sat in on the proceedings, followed by a reproduction of the report in BERNAMA, appear below.

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The 3rd day of the Gunasegaran inquest revealed some pertinent information.

A key prosecution witness, the arresting officer, Corporal Norazman said he had not included the name of the deceased, R. Gunasegaran, in the arrest report which named the other 4 arrested along with him.

His stated reason was that the deceased was in possession of a substance believed to be drugs

However he had not reported it and does not know what had happened to the substance.

He also gave a series of evasive answers in denying any assault of the victim.

When Visva told this witness in cross-examination that there were witnesses to the assault of the deceased, this witness responded that he had not witnessed any assault.

Visva : The deceased was hit with a stick?

Witness : I did not see this.

Visva : The deceased was kicked?

Witness : I did not see this.

The witness explained that he was doing documentation in a front room and did not see the deceased collapse at the back near the toilet before the deceased could give his urine sample.

He was uncertain if the deceased was alive while being taken to the hospital about 7 pm as  his eyes were open.

The witness confirmed that he did not check the deceased for any pulse , nor was he aware of anyone administering  first aid to the deceased.

He said he learnt of the victim’s death only after being told by ( DSM) Rajinder

However he could not explain why the pathologist’s report said he was told  the victim had died at 17.30.

The witness affirmed that the arrest report was to confirm arrest but could not explain why the deceased, who was arrested along with 4 others at about 5pm was not included in the report filed at 6.21pm.

Although he had earlier stated the reason was the victim was in possession of substances suspected to be drugs, implying Gunasegaran’s arrest  was reported separately, in the course of the hour long  cross-examination, it was apparent that no such report had been made.

Visva chided him for misleading the court.

Asked again why he had not made the arrest report, there was a long pause before he replied that “it was done by Rajinder, not that it was not done”. (Rajinder’s was not a separate report but a “menambah fakta”  at 8.27pm to the original report done at 6.21.- i.e, well after the victim had died).

The witness disagreed with Visva’s suggestion that there was an attempt to cover up the death in custody, to dump his body somewhere, off the record.

Visva put it to him that he did not come to court to tell the truth.

Earlier , in the course of the cross examination, the witness became agitated and argued with Visva in a raised voice.

Visva asked the court to caution the witness and to cite him for contempt if he persists in showing disrespect to an officer of the court.

The next witness was Rajinder, after which Visva requested to visit the lock-up where the death took place.
Photographs of the location were taken.

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Coroner visits Gunasegaran’s cell
Dec 16, 09 9:23pm
Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin today visited the Sentul District Police Headquarters, where R Gunasegaran was detained before he died at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital on July 16.

Siti Shakirah, who is handling the inquest on Gunasegaran’s death, arrived at the police station’s Narcotics Crime Investigation Division at 3.10pm.

She was accompanied by Deputy Public Prosecutor, Shashita Mohd Hanipa, lawyer M Visvanathan who is representing Gunasegaran’s family, and several police personnel.

Earlier, Visvanathan made a request to Siti Shakirah that the court make a visit to look at the actual situation of the lock-up where Gunasegaran was detained.

Meanwhile, the third prosecution witness, Cpl Norazman Mohamad, 45, told the court earlier that he did not make any documentation on Gunasegaran, that is, the report on his urine test because the detainee could not urinate.

“In this context, I only recorded his (Gunasegaran) finger prints, even then, I only managed to complete one sheet,” said Norazman.

When questioned by Shashita, the witness said he did not see the incident where Gunasegaran was said to have collapsed and fainted because he was involved in processing the documentation of other detainees.

No injuries on Gunasegaran

Norazman told the court that he only came to know about the incident when told by Sgt Major Rajinder Singh who took Gunasegaran to the hospital.

The inquest was being carried out to determine the cause of death for Gunasegaran, who had fainted while his finger prints were being recorded between 6.45pm and 7pm, and later died at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital at 7.40pm.

Norazman disagreed with Visvanathan’s contention that other police personnel had purportedly hit and kicked Gunasegaran for not urinating.

“I did not see other police personnel hitting or kicking the victim to the extent that he had fainted and during his detention, there was no injury due to assaults because whenever there is an arrest, we merely hold the detainee,” he added.

The inquest continues on Jan 13, next year.

– Bernama

Posted in: Right to know