No evidence ex-pathologist masterminded DPP's murder, appeals court told

04 Dec 2023 03:58pm
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX

PUTRAJAYA - There is no evidence to show that former pathologist colonel doctor Dr R. Kunaseegaran was the mastermind for the murder of deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Datuk Anthony Kevin Morais eight years ago, the Court of Appeal was told today.

Lawyer Datuk N.Sivananthan, representing Kunaseegaran, told a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, comprising Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk Azmi Ariffin, that there was nothing in the evidence to show there was a prior pre-planned meeting between his client and any of the other accused persons to commit the murder.

He argued that it was illogical for Kunaseegaran and another accused person, S. Ravi Chandaran, to plan the murder together as the duo had a breakdown in their relationship at the beginning of 2015 and they were not on talking terms.

"The prosecution had never put any line of questioning to Kunaseegaran and Ravi Chandaran that they shared a common intention to murder the deceased or harm him in any way,” said Sivananthan at the appeal hearing of six men who were sentenced to death for killing Morais.

He said the High Court judge erred in finding that Kunaseegaran had the intention to commit murder based on motive and that his client’s application to recuse Morais from handling his (Kunaseegaran’s) corruption trial at the Shah Alam Sessions Court did not prove that he (Kunaseegaran) had a personal vendetta against Morais.

Sivananthan, assisted by lawyer Jasmine Cheong, also submitted that it was not out of the ordinary for his client to file a recusal application, adding that the recusal was not against Morais alone but also another prosecutor.

Kunaseegaran, 60, former money lender Ravi Chandaran, 52, and four other individuals, namely R. Dinishwaran, 31, A.K. Thinesh Kumar, 30, M. Vishwanath, 33 and S. Nimalan, 30, all unemployed, were sentenced to death by the High Court on July 10, 2020, after they were found guilty of murdering Morais.

The offence was committed along Jalan Dutamas Raya Sentul and No. 1, Jalan USJ 1/6D, Subang Jaya, between 7 am and 8 pm on Sept 4, 2015.
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Morais, 55, was reported missing on Sept 4, 2015. He was last seen leaving his apartment at Menara Duta in Kuala Lumpur in a Proton Perdana. His body was found in an oil drum filled with cement at Persiaran Subang Mewah, Subang Jaya, on Sept 16, 2015.

Sivananthan also told the court that the testimony of a prosecution witness G. Gunasekaran, which the High Court relied on to convict his client, was contradictory, self-exculpatory and unreasonable.

Gunasekaran was initially charged with murdering Morais, but the charge was later withdrawn after he pleaded guilty in the Sessions Court to a charge of disposing of the victim’s body.

He was sentenced to two years in jail from the date of his arrest on Sept 15, 2015, and then called as a prosecution witness.

The court also heard submissions from lawyers M. Manoharan, Burhanudeen Abdul Wahid and Amer Hamzah Arshad who represented Dinishwaran, Thinesh Kumar and Nimalan, respectively.

Manoharan argued that there was no direct evidence to show that Dinishwaran had contributed to the commissioning of the crime and that his client ought to be discharged and acquitted.

Burhanudeen submitted that his client (Thinesh Kumar) was not seen anywhere at the crime scene, except in the car which collided with the deceased’s car, adding that it was insufficient for the court to find him (Thinesh) to be involved in Morais’ death.

Amer Hamzah submitted that his client (Nimalan) should be charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 of the Penal Code.

He said his client showed the police the location where the drum was disposed of, but it cannot be said that he knew the content of the drum.

The hearing continues on Thursday - BERNAMA