In a recent ruling by the High Court in Seremban, a widow has been granted RM446,780 in compensation after her husband’s tragic death while in police custody.
M. Segar, a 46-year-old stall assistant, met his untimely end in 2017, setting the stage for a legal battle initiated by his widow, M. Vimala Devy, and their 23-year-old son, S. Thusataran.
Expert witness confirms custodial injuries
The High Court, led by Judicial Commissioner Wan Fadhilah Wan Idris, determined that the Malaysian government was responsible for negligence during Segar’s time in custody at the Port Dickson District Headquarters lockup (IPD).
“The court took into account the testimony of the expert witness, the doctor who performed the autopsy on the deceased, that the injuries to the deceased that led to his death occurred while the deceased was in police custody, namely in the Port Dickson IPD lock-up while on remand,” she said.
Wan Fadhilah also said, after hearing the testimony of the witnesses, the arguments of both sides, the court allowed the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant with a cost of RM20,000.
The court carefully considered witness testimonies and arguments from both sides, including expert medical opinion.
An expert witness, the doctor who conducted Segar’s autopsy, testified that the injuries leading to his death occurred while he was in police custody at the Port Dickson IPD lockup during his remand.
According to Sinar Harian, as a result of the court’s decision, M. Vimala Devy has been awarded RM446,780 in compensation. This amount includes:
- Damages for Grief: RM63,000
- Damages for Loss of Dependents: RM3,780
- Damages for Funeral Expenses: RM30,000
- Damages for Official Misconduct: RM150,000
- Aggravated Damages: RM200,000
Furthermore, the Malaysian government has been ordered to pay a five percent interest rate on the awarded sum, which will be retroactively applied from March 30, 2020, until the payment date.
Legal representation for M. Vimala Devy was provided by lawyers Haresh Mahadevan and Ramzani Idris, while the Malaysian government was represented by lawyer Shah Wira Abdul Halim.
Haresh Mahadevan emphasised the significance of the autopsy results, which revealed that the victim had sustained bruises on his body consistent with the use of a blunt instrument.
The court’s decision is a significant step towards justice for the grieving family and underscores the importance of accountability and transparency in cases involving individuals in police custody.
At the time of the incident, M. Segar was a 46-year-old stall assistant, and his widow, Vimala Devy, was 44 years old and unemployed, with a son to care for.