Verdict on detainee’s death in lock-up upheld as AGC withdraws appeal

PUTRAJAYA: The coroner’s open-court verdict that police detainee P Karuna Nithi died in 2013 due to beatings by the police as well as other detainees was upheld today following the withdrawal of an appeal by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to reverse the ruling.

The prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutor Nik Syahril Nik Ab Rahman, informed a three-man bench of the Court of Appeal, led by justice Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid, that the AGC had filed a notice of discontinuance of its appeal against the decision.

“Today, the court is set to hear the appeal by the AGC. However, we filed a notice of discontinuance of the appeal on Feb 14. Therefore, we seek to withdraw the appeal,” Nik Syahril said.

Umi Kalthum, who sat with justices Harmindar Singh Dahliwal and Stephen Chung, then struck out the appeal.

The AGC was appealing against the Seremban High Court’s ruling to uphold the coroner’s open verdict after dismissing its application for a revision to overturn the ruling.

In January 2015, the coroner’s open verdict ruled that Karuna Nithi’s death was due to several factors, including beatings by the police as well as other inmates, which resulted in him sustaining 49 wounds.

Coroner Jagjit Singh held that other causes of death included the failure of the police to prevent other detainees from beating the 42-year-old detainee, and their failure to seek medical attention.

The judgment was made after Jagjit was satisfied with the facts and statements by 44 witnesses during the inquest proceedings on Karuna Nithi’s death.

The findings of the inquest differed from the initial cause of death which was liver damage.

Outside the court, lawyer Latheefa Koya, representing Karuna Nithi’s family, told the media that the victim’s brother, Elam Sezhian, would lodge police reports soon against those responsible for his brother’s death.