PUTRAJAYA: The police officers at the North Klang District police station repeatedly ignored standard operating procedures in their handling of detainee S. Balamurugan who died in their custody, said its chief.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Yusoff Mamat (pic) said this at the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) hearing investigating the death of 44-year old S.Balamurugan who died in custody on Feb 7.
“I had in a briefing in December said that any detainee found ill should be sent to the hospital immediately. They disobeyed me.
“I was not informed that Balamurugan’s remand application was rejected. On top of that they had also defied the Inspector General Standing Orders (IGSO) by not allowing the detainee to change out of his lock up clothes when taken to court,” he said on Tuesday.
SAC Yusoff also condemned the officers who in the course of the hearing had claimed that they were unaware of the standard operating procedures.
“I don’t believe it’s all of them. Just a handful of them who are claiming they do not know the SOP so that they can save themselves in this case.
“We have repeatedly reminded them of SOPs and conducted spot checks on them to ensure they know what they are doing … these people are just trying to run away,” he said.
He told EAIC chairman Yaakob Md Sam that the North Klang police station was “problematic”.
“My position is a big one and I have got so many things to oversee. Watching over North Klang is not easy and sometimes we miss some things,” he said.
During the hearing, it was also determined that forensic officer Inspector Nor Harman Ab Hamid had not done a thorough inspection when asked to examine the scene of the death.
Insp Harman said that upon arrival he had seen blood on Balamurugan’s nose and mouth as well as on his arm, shirt and the floor.
Asked whether he had taken samples or examined the blood from the floor to verify the source, Harman said he felt that it was not necessary.
“From my experience, I believed it must have been from Balamurugan himself, so I did not think I needed to examine it,” he said adding that he used his experience to come to the conclusion.
Balamurugan who was arrested with three other men on Feb 6, died in custody at the North Klang police station in the late hours of Feb 7.
A pathologist had noted that blunt force trauma consistent with beatings had contributed to Balamurugan’s death, as he already had existing heart conditions and liver disease.