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Apex court upholds acquittal of cops over Dharmendran's death

Four suspended policemen walked out of court as free men after the Federal Court in Putrajaya today upheld their acquittal over the murder of a detainee, N Dharmendran, in a police lock-up five years ago.

A five-man bench led by Chief Judge of Malaya Zaharah Ibrahim unanimously dismissed the prosecution's final appeal against the acquittal of inspector S Hare Krishnan, sergeant Jaffri Jaafar, corporal Mohd Nahar Abd Rahman and corporal Mohd Haswadi Zamri Shaari.

She said the court was of the view that the Court of Appeal and High Court did not err in discharging and acquitting the four men and there were no appealable errors.

Both the courts had discharged and acquitted the four men of killing Dharmendran, 32, at the serious crimes division (D9) interrogation room on Level 7 of the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters in Jalan Hang Tuah between May 18 and May 21, 2013.

Dharmendran was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder involving firearms.

Read more: Reporting deaths in police custody

"The circumstantial evidence adduced (by the prosecution) did not meet the threshold required for conviction," said Justice Zaharah who presided with Federal Court judges Ramly Ali, Aziah Ali, Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin and Rohana Yusuf.

Hare Krishnan, 44, Jaffri, 48, Nahar, 49, and Haswadi Zamri, 36 were initially discharged and acquitted by the High Court in 2014 for murder without their defence being called.

On appeal by the prosecution, the Court of Appeal in Feb 2016 set aside the policemen's acquittal and ordered them to enter their defence. In June the same year, they were discharged and acquitted by the High Court at the end of the defence case.

On April 18, last year, the Court of Appeal upheld their acquittal after dismissing the prosecution's appeal, prompting the prosecution to bring the matter to the Federal Court.

Hare Krishnan was represented by lawyer M Athimulan, Jaffri by lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik while Nahar and Haswadi were represented by lawyers Baljit Singh Sidhu and R Mahendran.

Deputy public prosecutors Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar and Asmah Musa appeared for the prosecution.

All four who were suspended from work can look forward to returning to work following the Federal Court's decision.

- Bernama

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