AMPANG, May 7 – The Coroner’s Court today ruled that Dinesh Dharmasena, who was shot to the head in an alleged “extra-judicial” killing by the police in 2012, had died of misadventure due to gunshot wounds.
Magistrate Noor Farahazwani Osman said her decision was based on the forensic team’s inability to identify the gun that fired the lethal shot, which had pierced the deceased’s right shoulder at the time of the incident.
“Based on the case facts and testimony, it could not be determined that the deceased died as a result of the shot fired by SP5 or otherwise,” Noor Farahazwani said, referring to the prosecution witness, a police constable identified only by his first name, Ganesh, before adding, “because the bullets and casings fired could not be matched to the pistols from which they were released.”
“Therefore the court’s verdict is that the inquest saw it as misadventure due to gunshot wound to the head,” she said in her written judgment of the inquest.
Dinesh, 26, was killed in a gangland shootout with police in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Ampang in the early hours of August 21, 2012.
Constable Ganesh was one of three police officers implicated in the killing.
Dinesh was believed to have been shot at close range in the gunfire exchange with a troop of patrolling police officers who were reported to have been attacked with a machete. He succumbed to gunshot wounds two days later.
His inquest has been marred by allegations of discrepancies, including the prosecution’s failure to compel two witnesses present at the time of the shooting to testify, in what lawyer Eric Paulsen, representing the deceased’s family, said reflected the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ disinterest in finding out the truth.
Paulsen claimed he had indicated his wish to summon the two witnesses to testify in the inquest that started in 2012 but the subpoena was only served at the last stage of the proceeding last year.
“It is shocking… somebody had died and all the magistrate can do is subpoena them at the very last stage and they did not turn up so that is not the right attitude,” the lawyer told reporters outside the Magistrate Court here.
Human rights groups had previously claimed that the two witnesses may have been intimidated against appearing before the inquest following police harassment.
Paulsen also claimed that the failure by the police forensic team to determine which gun had fired the shot was a sign of a cover-up.
“That shows how much cover-up there is in the police because even they don’t want to show who actually shot it,” he said.
Dinesh’s brother Ranjan insisted that his younger sibling is innocent and said he was appalled by the manner in which the investigation was handled.
“We can’t accept it… he just died just like that. They are telling us he was holding the parang but how… if you surrender, you can also shoot?” Ranjan said.
Paulsen criticised the inquest verdict as a defect of the legal system. However, he said he had to await further instructions from his clients on the next step to take.
BY SYED JAYMAL ZAHIID, The Malay Mail Online