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High Court upholds verdict police beatings led to Karuna Nithi's death

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The High Court in Seremban has upheld a coroner's court's open verdict that police detainee P Karuna Nithi's death was due to beatings by police and other detainees.

Judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin rejected the judicial review application filed by the government, saying there is no ground to overturn the coroner's findings.

"This judgement is made after reviewing the inquest record proceedings, as well as taking into consideration the arguments made by the lawyer representing the victim's family, as well as the lawyer representing the Bar Council.

"I also reviewed and studied the relevant case facts and found that there is no ground to nullify the judgement made by the coroner's court in the inquest two years ago," Muhammad Jamil was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

Lawyer Eric Paulsen (photo), who appeared for Karuna Nithi’s family, hoped that no further appeals would be filed by public prosecutors.

"I would strongly urge the public prosecutor not to appeal further and let Karuna Nithi’s family members have closure. Surely they deserve better," Paulsen said on Twitter.

Karuna Nithi was first remanded at Tampin district police station in late May 2013 following an altercation with his wife and was further detained when his family could not raise his bail after he was charged in court.

The engineer was found dead in a lock-up at the police station on Jun 1, 2013.

Police CCTV recordings from Karuna Nithi's lock-up showed him being assaulted by police and other detainees while in the cell.

In 2015, the Seremban Coroner’s Court ruled that he was beaten to death by police and inmates. He had been found with 49 injuries, mostly bruises, all over his body.

Pathologist Dr Sharifah Safoorah Syed Alwee’s testimony that the victim had died of “fatty change of liver,” a condition commonly linked to alcoholism, was rejected.

The public prosecutor later filed to re-open the inquest but the coroner maintained it in 2016.

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