The Penang High Court heard about how T Nhaveen had his foot run over by one of the accused a year before he was beaten to death.
Key witness and Nhaveen’s best friend T Previin, 23, said the incident took place one evening five years ago when the two of them and another friend were chatting while seated outside the porch of Previin’s home in Bukit Gelugor.
Previin said two of the accused in Nhaveen’s murder were on a motorcycle and they deliberately rode the machine over Nhaveen’s foot.
He said the other friend who was with them pushed the bike away as Nhaveen grimaced in pain.
He said the motorcycle rider was J Ragesuthan, the first accused, while the fourth accused, a juvenile, was riding pillion. Previin went on to identify them in the dock.
Previin said that in the incident, Ragesuthan had gone on to call Nhaveen a “pottai” (Tamil slang for effeminate) and threatened to beat him up but left since “another friend was with them”.
Using a die-cast bike and a whiteboard marker, he demonstrated how the motorcycle went over Nhaveen’s foot and later showed the court how they were seated outside their house on Jalan Bunga Raya through a Google StreetView image shown on a screen.
Previin, when asked if there were any other bullying incidents after that, said there were none.
Earlier, he told prosecutors of how he first met the accused.
He said he first met Ragesuthan when he went to Kompleks Bukit Jambul to watch a movie. While stepping off the escalator, Ragesuthan smacked his groin, he said.
“Since then, whenever they (Ragesuthen and the others) saw Nhaveen and me, they would bully us. They would stop Nhaveen and take him elsewhere,” he said, without offering further explanation.
T Previin, 23, (in blue, centre) and Nhaveen’s mother Shanti Dorairaj (right) at the High Court today. With them is activist Arun Dorasamy (in white, left).
Previin also recalled a time when he first met the fourth accused, a juvenile, who had stopped him and Nhaveen at Raffel Park, Bukit Gambir.
He said the accused had called them to come over for a “handshake” after slipping his hand into his private parts.
He said this during an examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutors Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim and Mohd Amril Johari.
Previin was allegedly beaten up together with Nhaveen in 2017 and is one of the key prosecution witnesses in the trial of how a brawl left his best friend succumbing to brain injury later.
The trial came to a halt after defence lawyer Maanveer Singh Dhillon raised concerns over new Covid-19 clusters near his firm in King Street, and fellow defence lawyer Yagoo Subramaniam was required to go for a swab test.
In asking for an adjournment, Maanveer said the cases in Penang had breached 1,000 a day.
Judicial commissioner Mohd Radzi Abdul Hamid then asked if the lawyers were free to convene in September, to which Maanveer immediately said “no”.
Radzi then set the trial to resume from Oct 4 to 8 to allow the prosecutors to continue with their examination-in-chief of Previin.
Before the court was adjourned, Previin raised his hand and said: “Yang Arif, can I say something?”
He told the court that he had received a death threat from a person known to the accused.
“I feel scared. Please help. They said that after they (the accused) come out, they will kill me,” he said, adding that prosecutors had advised him to not make such statements in court.
Radzi said the court took a serious view of harassment of witnesses in the case and urged the prosecutors and Previin to lodge a police report over the matter.
He also told Previin to take up the police’s offer of protective custody, which he had declined in May.
The prosecution had previously told the court on May 4 that they had received reports of certain people harassing key witnesses, causing the court to sharply warn them against doing so or face a police investigation.
Police have arrested three men in a criminal intimidation probe following Previin’s complaint of harassment in late May.
DPPs Noor Azura Zulkiflee and Yazid Mustaqim Roslan also prosecuted, while Ranjit Singh Dhillon also represented the accused.
Sukhindarpal Singh held a watching brief on behalf of the Bar Council. – FMT
Earlier report: Aug 5, Nhaveen was like a brother, best friend tells murder trial