28 November 2013
Lawyers for Liberty is outraged at the recent Court of Appeal’s decision which re-affirmed Corporal Jenain Subi’s acquittal of killing 15-year-old Aminulrasyid in April 2010.
The basis of the acquittal was premised on the false argument that the policeman had shot at the moving car in order to immobilise it but in the process a stray bullet in an unfortunate accident had killed Aminulrasyid. We find the argument astonishing and dangerous to say the least as it gives the police a carte blanche licence to shoot and kill with impunity anyone who flees from the police even though he was not suspected of any serious criminal offence and did not pose a serious threat to the police or the public.
We reiterate the question whether it was possible for Corporal Jenain Subi to fire 29 shots from a sub-machine gun during a car chase merely with the intention to immobilise the car without knowledge or regard that his actions will cause serious injuries or death to the occupants in the car. The answer is an unequivocal “no” and it is shocking how the appellate courts disregarded the Sessions Court judge’s trial finding that the shooting was unjustified and in the circumstances, Corporal Jenain Subi should have known that his actions could cause serious injuries or death.
The appellate courts failed to look into whether Corporal Jenain Subi was justified under law and the police’s own Inspector General Standing Order on use of firearms (that remains a classified document) to open fire at the car driven by Aminulrasyid who has only committed a minor offence and did not pose a serious threat to the police or the public.
The courts support for trigger happy police does not make Malaysia any safer. In fact, it will make Malaysia a more dangerous place, because any person who flees from the police is now liable to be shot and if he or she is wrongly killed, it is now open for the police to claim mistake or accidental death.
The judiciary must demand that the police act according to established legal and policing standards that only allow the use of deadly force when absolutely necessary i.e. in situations of self-defence and when other means have been tried and failed – which would have prevented the needless death of Aminulrasyid.
Lawyers for Liberty calls on the judiciary to take more seriously issues that involve state violence especially custodial death and police shooting. The judiciary must be particularly vigilant against the rampant abuse of police powers that sidesteps the criminal justice process and takes on the role of judge, jury and executioner.
Co-founder & Adviser
Lawyers for Liberty
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