Amicable settlement sought in Glenmarie shooting lawsuit

n surendran

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has advised the families of three youths who were shot dead by policemen almost six years ago, the police and government, to explore the possibility of settling the case amicably.

Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh chairing a three-member panel requested the parties in the lawsuit to seek an amicable settlement “in the spirit of fairness and justice” and gave them until Sept 1, where the court will record a consent judgment if the parties agree to settle the case amicably.

If the decision is otherwise, the court will give its verdict the same day with regard to the appeal brought by the deceased’s families.

The lawsuit for assault, battery and negligence was filed against the police and the government by the families of Muhammad Shamil Shapiei, 15; Mohd Hairul Nizam Tuah, 20; and Muhamad Hanafi Omar, 22; who were reportedly shot by policemen on duty at Glenmarie, Shah Alam around 4am on Nov 13, 2010.

However, they are appealing against the High Court’s decision on Aug 11 last year to dismiss their civil suit. The High Court held that the police had fired the gunshots towards the deceased in self-defence.

Also presiding on the panel were Justices Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Abdul Rahman Sebli.

Earlier, in the appeal, Justice Mohd Zawawi asked the parties if they could explore the possibility of an amicable settlement as there was a lingering question in his mind concerning the gunshots fired at the deceased.

N Surendran, the lawyer representing the families of the youths, submitted that post-mortem reports by government pathologists contradicted the police’s version of events that the deceased had allegedly rushed at them with ‘parangs’ (machetes) prompting them to fire in self-defence.

He said post-mortem reports revealed that bullets entered the deceased at a 45-degree or downward angle which was contrary to the police’s evidence that they had fired without aiming at the deceased when the latter allegedly charged at them.

He said it was improbable for all the deceased persons to have similar fatal shots to the head and chest if the police fired gunshots without taking aim, and added that there would have been shots to other areas of the bodies of the deceased as well.

Surendran said the High Court judge had disregarded the post-mortem reports because forensic doctors who produced the reports were not called as witnesses.

He added that there was no credible evidence that the deceased were armed with parangs or had rushed at the police with parangs.

Senior federal counsel Norliza Zulkefli argued that they could not challenge the issue on the gunshots at the trial because the appellants did not call the pathologists to testify as the burden was on them (the appellants) to prove their case.

She said there was oral evidence by the police that the deceased were involved in a robbery and the police had to shoot them because the deceased had pursued them with parangs.

The civil suit was filed by Muhammad Shamil’s parents, Shapiei Zainal Abidin and Norhafizah Mad Razali; Hamidah Kadar and Norhaliza Tuah, who are Mohd Hairul Nizam’s mother and sister, respectively; and Muhamad Hanafi’s parents, Omar Abu Bakar and Noriah Darus.

They named 11 defendants including seven police officers, the Shah Alam District police chief, Selangor police chief, Inspector-general of Police and the government.

Outside the court, Surendran told reporters he would write to the Attorney-General’s Chambers on the court’s suggestion of an amicable settlement after discussing the matter with his clients.