Lawyer claims cops didn’t provide medicine to man who died in lock-up

Janagi Nadarajah holding a picture of her late husband Benedict Thanilas, who died in a lock-up on July 10, 2017.

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer representing the wife of a man who died in police custody has alleged that the post-mortem’s toxicology report proved that police did not give the critically-ill man the medicines he required.

Benedict Thanilas was required to take eight different types of medication daily. He died in police custody on July 10, 2017 — 12 days after being arrested on suspicion of drug distribution.

The police officers who arrested Thanilas did not take Thanilas’s medicines along when arresting him. They instead told his wife, Janagi Nadarajah, to bring them to the Sentul police station later in the day.

However, Thanilas’s toxicology report after his death found no traces of these eight medicines in his body.

M Visvanathan, who was representing Janagi, told an inquest at the Coroner’s Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that police were made aware of her husband’s medical history when they arrested him.

“Janagi said she informed the police that her husband was seriously ill, had just undergone a heart bypass operation and suffered from diabetes and hypertension,” he told FMT yesterday.

“Police were informed of this but they did not take this seriously,” he said, adding that it was obvious from the toxicology report that the police did not give him any of his required medicine.

“Why is there a need to arrest and detain a person who is so gravely ill? If an investigation needs to be carried out, it can be done without remand.”

Thanilas was detained under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 and could have been held for 60 days.

He was found unconscious in his cell at the Jinjang police lock-up on July 10, 2017.

He was taken to Hospital Kuala Lumpur but pronounced dead.

Visvanathan said that 23 witnesses have given statements during the inquest into Thanilas’s death, which is in its final stage now.

The inquest continues on Jan 20.