On 6 March 2015, Coroner Puan Rozita binti Bainon handed out an important judgement regarding the death of C. Sugumar, a death during police apprehension. C. Sugumar was chased down by a mob, was pinned down by police, had curry powder smeared on his face, two handcuffs were placed on him and he was stepped on by several policemen in broad daylight.
There was controversial over his post-mortem report which stated his cause of death was ‘coronary artery disease’, and makes no mention of his brutal arrest . The report was met with much resistance by his family and lawyers who were barred multiple times from getting a second post-mortem report.
The coroner found Sugumar’s cause of death to be the lack of urgent medical attention following his apprehension, since evidence showed that it was apparent that the deceased was exhausted and having difficulty breathing. The learned coroner also stated that the cause of death was coronary artery disease which was a consequence/was accelerated by the police officers who had, through unlawful admission, failed to send the deceased to a healthcare facility. The court had observed that the police indeed had custody over him and his condition required immediate attention.
The court also handed over the matter to the police force and the Attorney-General’s chambers to take further action, to commence investigations and charge individuals concerned to their discretion.
Read the verdict here: Sugumar Verdict