A sales executive whose brother, P. Karuna Nithi, was found dead in a police lock-up two years ago has filed for a judicial review to set aside an application by the attorney-general (A-G) to reopen the inquest proceeding.

Elam Sezhian in his application said he wanted the inquiry scheduled for October 12 to be suspended pending the outcome of the judicial review.

Elam’s leave application has been fixed for mention on September 18 at the Seremban High Court.

Elam, who filed the leave application on August 27, named the Negri Sembilan state legal adviser and the A-G as respondents.
He said the decision to reopen the inquest which was concluded on May 27 this year was unreasonable as the respondents wanted to tender the evidence of another forensic pathologist.

“There is no cogent reason given why the respondents want to call (Kuala Lumpur Hospital head of pathology) Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood when a verdict has been delivered,” he said in court documents sighted by The Malaysian Insider.

“The reopening of the inquiry means that the respondents are attempting to get a different verdict,” he added.

A total of 44 witness gave evidence in the inquest which began in November 2013.

On January 28, coroner Datuk Jagjit Singh rejected forensic pathologist Dr Sharifah Safoorah Syed Alwee’s expert opinion after extensive examination of the shortcomings in her testimony.

“She had erroneously found that the cause of death was due to ‘fatty change in the liver’. But this cannot be so when the deceased had 49 external injuries,” the coroner said.

Elam, represented by Eric Paulsen, had also filed a complaint to the Malaysian Medical Council against Dr Sharifah.

Elam previously told The Malaysian Insider that he believed Dr Mohd Shah’s testimony was an attempt to exonerate Dr Sharifah.

The application to reopen the case was made under Section 339(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code as it allowed the A-G, who is also the public prosecutor, to direct the coroner to conduct further investigations.

Elam said the A-G should have called medical experts during the inquest.

“I do not see the relevancy of this witness taking the stand because he was not involved in examining my brother’s body and the proceedings cannot be said to be a further inquiry,” he said in his affidavit.

Jagjit in his verdict said Karuna Nithi’s death was caused by 49 multiple injuries by blunt objects including physical assault, abuse and unlawful acts by persons unknown, inclusive of police officers and other detainees where the deceased had been held.

The coroner said that there was failure or omission to provide the necessary medical care and attention required by Karuna Nithi.

“The deceased was a healthy adult with no life-threatening diseases when he entered the lock-up but ended up dead three days later with 49 external injuries,” he said.

Jagjit said closed circuit television footage from the police station clearly revealed Karuna Nithi was beaten by other inmates and that the cops on duty were privy to what had happened.

He said some policemen had also contributed to the beating, harassment and bullying based on evidence adduced from the CCTV.

Karuna Nithi, 42, was found unconscious inside his cell by a policeman who went to check on him at about 6pm on June 1, 2013.

He was rushed to the district hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.

Police had detained him at about 5.30pm on May 28 after his wife lodged a report that he had assaulted her following a quarrel at their home at Rumah Rakyat Taman Muhibbah in Gemencheh.

Karuna Nithi also lodged a report earlier the same day admitting he had assaulted his wife because he could not take her verbal abuse.

He was taken to the Tampin magistrate’s court the following morning where a four-day remand order was issued.

On May 31, he was charged with causing hurt and allowed a RM4,000 bail, but was taken back to the lock-up because his family could not post bail. – September 10, 2015.

BY V. ANBALAGAN, The Malaysian Insider