Court ruling sends message it’s cheaper to kill suspects, warn lawyers

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A Federal Court majority ruling which stops family members from filing a claim for exemplary damages is a licence for law enforcement officers to kill suspects under their custody, a retired judge and lawyers said.

Not only was the majority decision wrong, it sent a dangerous message to enforcement agencies, they said.

Retired Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram said the majority verdict was an advice to the government that it was cheaper to kill than to maim.

He said the position now was that if a suspect was assaulted in custody and beaten within an inch of his life, then the government was liable to pay exemplary damages to the victim.

“But if the victim dies as a result of the violence inflicted on him there is no need to pay exemplary damages because the Civil Law Act (CLA) 1956 says so,” he told FMT. Read more

Apex court rules out exemplary damages for death in lock-up cases

Source: FMT News

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court, in a majority decision, today held that the families of persons who die in custody are not entitled to exemplary damages for a breach of a constitutional right.

Justice Zaharah Ibrahim said the Federal Constitution did not give the Malaysian courts the same power as other jurisdictions.

In the cases of Romanoop (Trinidad and Tobago) and Merson (Bahamas), the constitutions of both countries allowed aggrieved parties to make claims for exemplary damages for breach of constitutional right.

“As our constitution does not have provisions similar to those utilised in Ramanoop and Merson, a claimant has to look elsewhere for redress,” said Zaharah in allowing the government’s appeal against the next of kin of three deceased persons. Read more