Apex court affirms acquittal of 4 cops in death in custody

N Dharmendran, who died at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters in May 2013.

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today affirmed the acquittal of four policemen implicated in the custodial death of N Dharmendran five years ago.

A five-member bench chaired by Chief Judge of Malaya Zaharah Ibrahim said the decision of the High Court and the Court of Appeal would be maintained as the criteria for circumstantial evidence put forward by the prosecution had not been met.

“Evidence of the prosecution and defence did not show that the four accused were responsible for the death,” she said in dismissing the prosecution’s appeal.

She said any decision to reverse the findings of the trial judge and Court of Appeal was also unsafe due to the conflicting evidence given by prosecution witnesses.

Inspector S Hare Krishnan, Sergeant Jaffri Jaafar and Corporals Mohd Nahar Abd Rahman and Haswadi Zamri Shaari were charged with murdering Dharmendran at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters on May 18, 2013.

Dharmendran had been detained for alleged attempted murder involving firearms. He was kept in the lock-up for 10 days.

The four policemen were freed on June 29, 2016 after their defence was called. Then-High Court judge Kamardin Hashim said the prosecution had relied on circumstantial evidence that did not point to the guilt of the accused.

Kamardin had acquitted them earlier, in November 2014, without defence being called. Following an appeal by the prosecution, however, the Court of Appeal ordered them to enter their defence.

Last year, another Court of Appeal bench upheld Kamardin’s decision.

Lawyer M Athimulan appeared for Hare Krishnan, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik represented Jaffri, while Baljit Sidhu was counsel for Nahar and Zamri.