The star witness in T Nhaveen’s murder trial told the Penang High Court today about how the four youths charged with killing him had constantly bullied the boy since he was 15.
T Previin, 23, who was Nhaveen’s senior by a year and his primary schoolmate, said the torment began as early as Standard Four when they studied at SK Bukit Gambir – where Nhaveen had his first run-in with bullies.
Previin said Nhaveen would come to him for help and solace even during primary school.
As Nhaveen and Previin went to different schools during their secondary years, Previin would hear him complain about rowdies tormenting him at his school, SMK Datuk Hj Mohamed Nor in Gelugor.
He said J Ragesuthan (one of the accused) would smack and kick Nhaveen for no reason. Outside school, the other three accused, S Gokulan and two others – who cannot be named as they are minors – from SMK Hamid Khan would gang up with Ragesuthan against Nhaveen.
“I did not know the bullying had become such a serious matter. Nhaveen often mentioned Ragesuthan as one that would constantly pick on him since Form Three.
“I think the boys attacked Nhaveen because he would not retaliate. I would advise him to be brave (whenever they attacked),” he said during questioning by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Amril Johari today.
Previin also spoke about how he and Nhaveen’s family had become close, to the extent that the latter’s mother called him “mudhal payyan” (eldest son in Tamil).
“We were like real brothers. We shared a lot of things. We were family. He felt safe with me,” he said.
Meanwhile, before the trial began today, Penang prosecution director Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim had asked the court to remove Arun Ganesh Boopalan, a lawyer on watching brief.
Khairul said this was because the lawyer, along with his two colleagues in his firm, might be called as possible witnesses, as they represented activist Arun Dorasamy.
Arun, with the aid of his lawyers, had lodged a police report over the ongoing trial, hence requiring the prosecutors to look through his statement.
Khairul said the new statement might change the prosecution’s strategy altogether, including calling some of the lawyers to the stand.
“We can’t begin our case until we see Arun’s police statement. The new statement might have a bearing on the direction of the prosecution’s case.
“With lawyer Arun Ganesh present, he may pass what is said in court to Arun Dorasamy. That is why we feel lawyer Arun poses a conflict of interest and should be removed,” he said.
Lawyer Arun said he was present in court on behalf of Nhaveen’s mother Shanti Dorairaj, not activist Arun Dorasamy.
Judicial commissioner Mohd Radzi Abdul Hamid rejected the prosecution’s argument, saying he did not see any reason how the lawyer would pose a threat to the prosecution.
He said he would allow the application if the prosecution could prove its claim and asked the prosecutors to carry on with the case.
DPPs Noor Azura Zulkiflee and Yazid Mustaqim Roslan also prosecuted, while Ranjit Singh Dhillon, Manveer Singh Dhillon and Yagoo Subramaniam represented the accused.
Sukhindarpal Singh held a watching brief on behalf of the Bar Council.
The case continues with the cross-examination of Previin tomorrow morning. – FMT