Carpenter awarded RM310,000 in damages for assault and unlawful detention


Source: The Malay Mail

PUTRAJAYA, June 7 — A carpenter was awarded a sum of RM310,000 in damages by the Federal Court today for unlawful detention and for assault while he was being remanded by police in 2008.

The five-man bench comprising Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Hasan Lah, Datuk Seri Balia Yusof Wahi, Tan Sri Aziah Ali and Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha ruled in favour of Mohd Hady Ya’akop after dismissing the appeal by four police officers and the government.

Justice Balia, who delivered the court’s judgment, had increased the exemplary damages for unlawful detention from RM50,000 to RM100,000.

He also maintained the appellate court’s decision to award Mohd Hady RM50,000 for false imprisonment and RM160,000 in damages for assault.

In the landmark judgment, Balia said Mohd Hady was entitled to bring a collateral proceeding and file a civil action against the police to challenge his remand order.

Balia said the courts were entrusted to oversee that the detention of prisoners and detainees were proper and the High Court has the power to correct any error, adding that assault in police custody was a clear violation.

He said the onus was on the police to satisfy the magistrate that the remand order was necessary.

Mohd Hady claimed that he had accompanied one Abdul Manan Hassan to the Bukit Beruang Melaka police headquarters on Nov 22, 2008, but while waiting for Abdul Manan at the police headquarters guard house, a policeman brought him to the office of one ASP Leong Mun Choon.

He claimed that he was taken to a room blindfolded, stripped and assaulted despite his denial that he was not involved in a fight at a restaurant.

Mohd Hady said he was subsequently produced before a magistrate who issued a seven-day remand order against him and was taken to a lock-up at the Melaka Tengah police station.

At about 7pm, the same day, he was brought to the Melaka general hospital. His remand order was extended for another seven days on Nov 28, 2008 while he was still in hospital.

After his released on December 12, 2008, Mohd Hady filed a civil action against five police officers, the inspector-general of police and the Malaysian government, seeking for a declaration that his detention by the police was unlawful and in violation of his fundamental rights under the Federal Constitution.

He further alleged that he had been assaulted during that detention and had suffered injuries for which he was hospitalised for treatment between November 22, 2008 and November 28, 2008.

Mohd Hady won his claim at the High Court which had found four police officers and the government liable for the injuries suffered by him while in police custody, but his claim for unlawful detention was disallowed.

The High Court had awarded Mohd Hady RM60,000 in damages for injuries he suffered, RM50,000 in exemplary damages, RM50,000 in aggravated damages, and RM100 in special damages.

The police and the government appealed to the Court of Appeal in respect of the award given for unlawful detention. They did not appeal against the damages awarded to Mohd Hady for assault.

The Court of Appeal in 2016 had further ordered the police and the government to pay RM50,000 in damages for unlawful detention and another RM50,000 in exemplary damages for unlawful detention after allowing Mohd Hady’s declaration that his 14-day remand detention was unlawful.

The police officers and the government appealed to the Federal Court.

Mohd Hady was represented by lawyer J.Amardas and Salim Bashir appeared as a friend of the court for the Bar Council, while senior federal counsel Kamal Azira Hassan for the police and the government. — Bernama