SHAH ALAM: A police constable was yesterday sentenced to three years' jail for causing hurt to suspected car thief A. Kugan, 22, who died while in custody three years ago.
Sessions Court judge Aslam Zainuddin sentenced constable V. Navindran, 32, after finding him guilty of two counts of causing hurt to Kugan at the D9 interrogation room of the Taipan police station in USJ, Subang Jaya, between 7am and 4pm on Jan 16, 2009.
In his decision, Aslam said he found the accused's defence that he was not at the interrogation room during the time of the offences a mere denial.
"The accused had called his wife and uncle to support his evidence that he was not in the room during the time of the offences, but the defence had not filed a notice of alibi," he said.
"The accused's interrogating partner, Corporal Awtar Singh, had also testified that he (Navindran) was not involved during the interrogation. But I found him (Awtar) contradicting his own evidence."
Aslam also allowed the prosecution's application to impeach Awtar.
"There were material contradictions between his evidence and his police statement on certain facts. His evidence was impeached," he said, adding the court found the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt in the case.
He then ordered Navindran to serve three years' jail on each charge. The jail terms were to run concurrently from yesterday.
Earlier, in mitigation, counsel Datuk P.M. Nagarajan defended the accused by stating he was a police officer who did not intentionally commit the offences.
"He did it in the line of duty to obtain information. This information would not have benefited him alone, but was for his team," he said, adding he has a 4-year-old child.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Abazafree Abbas, however, pressed for a deterrent sentence because of the seriousness of the offence.
"Police officers are custodians of the law. He should be prohibiting violence," said Abazafree.
"The court should take into consideration that this case has put the police force in a negative light. A life was lost and this cannot be compensated in any way."
Aslam, however, granted Navindran a stay of execution pending appeal, but raised his RM10,000 bail with one surety to RM20,000 with two sureties.
Navindran was charged in October 2009 with two counts of causing grievous hurt and two alternative charges of causing hurt to Kugan.
On Jan 28, last year, the Sessions Court acquitted him of all the charges without calling for his defence.
The prosecution subsequently appealed and the decision was overturned by the High Court here on Jan 19.
Navindran was then ordered to enter his defence on the two alternative charges of causing hurt. Kugan, who was remanded for two weeks in connection with several luxury car thefts, collapsed and died at the Taipan police station in USJ, Subang Jaya, during interrogation.
A total of 29 witnesses testified in the trial.