PETALING JAYA: The family of C Sugumaran has declined to participate in the inquest called by the attorney-general to determine the security guard’s cause of death.

According to lawyers N Surendran and Latheefah Koya, the family is vexed that Selangor police Tun Hisan Tun Majid had rejected the call to initiate a murder investigation.

Describing the inquest as a “sham”, the PKR lawyers claimed that it was an attempt by the AG, Home Ministry and the police to cover up the case.

The lawyers said that three key eyewitnesses gave their statements to the police entirely on their own accord yesterday evening, in the presence of lawyers Eric Paulsen and Latheefa.

“However, it should be noted that the police made no attempts to locate these witnesses despite knowing of their existence,” they said.
The lawyers also claimed that in one of the testimonies given to the police, the witness said: “A police officer was stepping brutally on Sugumaran’s neck with his boot while Sugumaran was trying to move his head away from under the boot. The police officer continued pressing on Sugumaran’s neck until he stopped struggling and became motionless.”

Surendran and Latheefa questioned the police and AG’s decision to hold an inquest as opposed to a murder investigation in light of the above evidence.

In a related development, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) co-founder and adviser Eric Paulsen also rejected the call for an inquest.

“The inquest proposal must be rejected, simply because this process has proven to be cumbersome and ineffective,” he added.

Paulsen claimed that the authorities preferred an inquest as it was a useful delaying tactic to placate public protest while in time, the parties involved would downplay evidence and cover up the killing.

He also said that an inquest was not a substitute for a competent and independent criminal investigation.

“Why call for an inquest when the perpetrators are known and there is adequate evidence to bring a criminal prosecution for murder or at very least, manslaughter?” he questioned.

-Free Malaysia Today, G Lavendran, 30 January 2013