The T Nhaveen murder trial at the Penang High Court yesterday heard about how a brother of one of the accused took part in a bashing which left the 18-year-old unconscious leading to his death later.
The key witness in the trial, T Previin, 23, said he saw “a tall, big-sized man” punching Nhaveen along with the four accused at a field known to locals as “Padang Openg” at Jalan Bunga Raya, Bukit Gelugor.
At first, he said he did not know who the man was, but eventually, he recognised him to be “Gopi”, a relative of one of the accused, S Gokulan, 18.
Previin said he recognised the man after he was seen in court attending the trial earlier on. The said person was not in court at the time of the testimony.
“I saw the four accused, along with a big-bodied, tall man hitting Nhaveen. Back then, I did not know who the big man was. But now I know it was Gopi, brother of Gokulan, since I saw him in court once,” he said.
Activist Arun Dorasamy (right) speaking to Nhaveen’s mother Shanti Dorairaj. In the middle is T Previin.
Group ignored plea to stop
Previin said he stood some 15m away when the bashing took place, pleading to the group armed with helmets to stop hitting Nhaveen. They ignored his plea.
He then heard one accused, J Ragesuthan, 18, referred to in court as “Raga” screaming: “Why did you tell Previin?”
Previin said the boys went on to strike Nhaveen, mostly with helmets for at least a minute. After that, he said Nhaveen was screaming, asking to be let go.
Previin said after feeling helpless, he ran back home down the road from the field and took his motorcycle to seek help from an adult. Before leaving, he told his mother he was going to Nhaveen’s house to ask for help.
At Nhaveen’s flat, Previin gave the bad news to his mother Shanti Dorairaj, who shrieked and panicked upon learning about Nhaveen’s condition.
Kindergarten teacher Indira Gandhi (left) was present in court to show moral support to Nhaveen’s mother Shanti Dorairaj (right). With them is Karan Dinish (centre), Indira’s son.
Mother pleads for son to be returned
Previin said Shanti managed to call Raga on her mobile phone and pleaded with him to return Nhaveen unharmed.
He then overheard Raga screaming over the phone to Shanti: “I don’t know anything, I will send him (Nhaveen) back once I’ve settled the issue,” and hung up.
Previin said Shanti had then asked her brother Karunakaran to search for Nhaveen at the field. Moments later, Karunakaran came back home saying his nephew was nowhere to be found.
Previin said he had tried to follow Karunakaran in the search but Shanti had stopped him as he was badly swollen from an earlier fight by a bridge.
The trial on Friday had heard Previin saying the four accused had first cornered him and Nhaveen by a bridge at Jalan Kaki Bukit and had beaten both boys with a helmet before heading to the field later.
The fight began when Previin asked the four accused why they kept taunting Nhaveen and calling him a “pondan”.
Previin revealed this during an examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Amril Johari.
Prosecution asked to amend charge
Judicial commissioner Mohd Radzi Abdul Hamid then asked the prosecution to consider amending the charges since new testimony showed Nhaveen was also attacked at the field at Jalan Bunga Raya. The prosecution agreed.
Amril then asked the court to visit the said field, known to locals as “Padang Openg” tomorrow. Radzi allowed the request and said the trial would be held at the site tomorrow.
Raga, Gokulan, and two others were charged with the murder of Nhaveen on June 19, 2017. The other two were juveniles when they were charged.
They are accused of murdering Nhaveen near the Karpal Singh Learning Centre, Jalan Kaki Bukit, Gelugor, between 11pm and midnight.
Also appearing for the prosecution were Noor Azura Zulkiflee and Yazid Mustaqim Roslan, while Ranjit Singh Dhillon, Maanveer Singh Dhillon, and Yagoo Subramaniam represented the accused.
Sukhindarpal Singh held a watching brief for the Bar Council, and Shakirah Sharifuddin appeared for the Human Rights Commission. Arun Ganesh Boopalan held a watching brief for Nhaveen’s family. – FMT