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

Posted on March 5, 2010

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I had last reported on these proceedings on 13th January, 2010. That report can be found HERE.

The hearing of the inquest continued on 13, 14th, 19th and 25th January, 2010.

It is due to resume on the 8th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 16th and 17th of this month at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrates Court at the Court Complex off Jalan Duta.

The report that follows is of the proceedings on 13th January, 2010.

I will try to post up the reports of the proceedings on the 14th, 19th and 25th January over the weekend.

THE REPORT

Cross-examination of Detective Sergeant Major Rajinder Singh, who led the raiding party that arrested Guna, took up the entire proceeding for the day.

The witness affirmed that he could speak Tamil.

To a question by Visva, the witness said that he was not sure what time he left the police station for the operation at the toddy shop at Sentul. He confirmed that he left the station in a greenish grey, unmarked van with 4 other officers of the narcotics division after receiving a tipoff, but could not provide details of the same.

The witness confirmed that raiding team arrived in Sentul around 5.20pm and took 5-6 minutes to reach the “kawasan operasi”, that is, the toddy shop.

The witness confirmed that after the arrests, 5 suspects were taken by the van driven by Norazman. The witness and and another member of the raiding team, Sapari, were seated in front.

The witness said that he was not sure where Guna was in the van. He confirmed that all the suspects were handcuffed, but could not say if they were individually handcuffed or one to the another.

The witness confirmed that the rading team and the arrestees arrived at the Sentul police station about 5.50pm

He said that Guna appeared tired when put in the van, but Guna was alive.

The witness confirmed that he did not speak to Guna or remove Guna’s shirt to check his body for any injuries.

Visva: How did you determine there was no injury on Guna when you did not examine him?

Rajinder: No injury was visible.

Rajinder then confirmed that he looked at Guna for 2-3 minutes and agreed that he could not determine if there were any injuries. He confirmed that he did not speak to Guna and was not sure to whom Guna was handcuffed or if he was in fact handcuffed to anyone.

The witness said that on arrival at the police station, he went straight to his office whilst the other colleagues brought the suspects in. He said he did not check Guna’s condition, but he was able to walk.

Rajinder said the suspects were kept in the temporary lock-up on the first floor of the narcotics dept.

The witness confirmed that Sarjens Subari & Rohaizan were assigned to do documentation, Norazman to do the arresting report, and Faizal and Zahir were detailed to take finger prints and urine samples.

.The witness was then shown photographs of office/lock-up area.

Rajinder said the suspects were not brought anywhere else but the lock up and out for urine tests.

The witness agreed with Visva’s suggestion that the area in question in the police station was very small and one was very likely to see and hear anything that happened there.

The witness explained that documentation and urine tests could be done together. He also explained that he did not who from amongst the suspects was processed first, but he was sure that Guna went last.

The witness explained that those who were doing the documentation were in the office near the computer. The documentation work entailed the use of two 2 computers handled by 4 personnel.

Rajinder confirmed that whilst 5 persons were arrested, only 4 names were in the arrest report.

The witness explained that a separate report was to be filed for possession of drugs.

Rajinder confirmed that a report was made on 16/7/09 at 6.23pm.

The witness agreed that the report was completed in less than 23 minutes, including documentation and urine screening of the 4 suspects and that there was ample time to make the separate report on Guna.

Visva then referred the witness to the report filed by him at 19.32 which the witness claimed was typed earlier but sent late.

Rajinder said that he was in a room with other colleagues when Subari told him someone had fainted at the back at about 6.45pm.

Visva: Subari was with you in the room. He can’t be in 2 places at the same time. I am putting it to you that you are not telling the truth.

Visva then referred the witness to the Markings on a photograph indicating the position of Guna on the floor.

Viava: My witnesses have instructed that Guna screamed in pain.

Rajinder : I didn’t hear.

Visva: You said Subari heard something. What did he hear?

Rajinder : I don’t know.

The witness said he did not go near the deceased but only saw Guna from the doorway, and did not touch Guna.

He said he saw Zahir sprinkle water on Guna.

Visva: Did you or your men give any first aid.

Rajinder : No

Visva: Why?

Rajinder : (Hesitates) Because Zahir sprinkled water. Besides him, Tuan Azrul sprinkled water and shook his hands.

The witness said nobody gave first aid or called for assistance or ambulance, because suspects usually pretend to be unconscious.

Visva: That is the truth, and so he was assaulted?

Rajinder : Not true

Visva: How long did you witness this sprinkling of water?

Rajinder : About 10 minutes.

Visva: Do you agree that in this context, 10 minutes is a long time?

Rajinder : I don’t know.

Visva : Luckily he did not drown!

The witness said he then asked his men to take Guna to hospital, and at the same time, he went to write a report about Guna  collapsing. He was not sure what time he finished the report , but he did not send it in.

Rajinder agreed that it would only take a few seconds to send the report in, but as the stretcher had come to take Guna out, he gave priority to attending to Guna.

Rajinder confirmed that n the report, it did not say that Guna was in possession of drugs.

Visva: You were aware of the assault on Guna?

Rajinder : No

Visva: You even warned the witnesses not to talk about it.

Rajinder : No

Visva: An eye-witness said a Punjabi officer who spoke Tamil warned them.

Rajinder : No.

The witness was shown a sketch plan of the place of arrest.

The witness said that he first saw Guna at the location where the others were gathered (marked G), but did not see any assault.

Visva: Witnesses saw Guna being assaulted at location G and Guna pleading.

Rajinder : No.

Visva: Witnesses also saw the assault at the lock-up & Guna pleading.

Rajinder : No.

The witness was asked to read the eye-witness accounts of 3 suspects who were arrested along with Guna. The witness disagreed with all 3 accounts.

Visva then read a paragraph from the statement of one of the 3 suspects, Ravi, which the witness denied.

Visva: The statement is a very serious allegation, why would the witness make such allegations.

Rajinder : I don’t know.

Visva : Its because it is the truth.

Visva then referred the witness to the statement of the 4th suspect who was released because he tested negative for drugs.

Visva: Do you agree his statement is opposite to the testimony in court today

Rajinder : Agree

Visva: Why does he make such a serious allegation?

Rajinder : I don’t know.

Visva: Its because it is the truth.

The witness continued that when Guna was brought to the Emergency room of the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, he was examined by a Malay doctor whose name he did not remember.

The witness said he left the hospital at about 8pm, arrived at the station at about 8.15pm, and continued with his report.

Visva: Then you could not be at the hospital at 8pm.

The witness said he made the report although he was not the arresting officer. He said this is allowed, but could not cite any authority that allows him to do so

Asked by Visva as to what happened to the drugs that the Guna allegedly possessed, the witness said he did not know, and that it probably was with the investigating officer .

Visva pointed out that the original report had been amended twice, at 7.32pm  to say the deceased had collapsed, and the drugs were only reported at 8.27pm, that is, well after the deceased had died, “because you know he is not going to come back and deny it”

Visva: You could prepare a report on 4 arrests, after completing  documentation, finger-prints & urine tests in under 23 minutes, but cannot make a single report on possession before 7.40pm when the deceased was pronounced dead? You are a compulsive liar.

The witness, who had earlier testified that no first aid was administered, was then referred to a Bernama report which said first aid was administered by one of the officers.

The witness was not sure if there was such an officer.

Visva: the first post-mortem report says “… informed by police victim died at 19.30hrs …”

Rajinder : I did not tell him that.

Visva: Why did you not lodge a report of death in your custody?

Rajinder : Because I had already taken him to hospital and had informed the OCPD, and that was enough.

Visva said this is the first time he came across a death in custody for which there is no report.

Posted in: Right to know