A tearful mother told the High Court here of how her “terrified son” was tormented by a classmate who allegedly abducted the 18-year-old and later was part of a group that beat him to death.
The court also heard how bullying victim T Nhaveen was afraid to go to school for close to a year as he was constantly tormented by the same bully, and how he was “abducted” the night he was beaten up by a group of four boys.
A relative also testified about how he found burn marks throughout the back of Nhaveen’s body at the morgue, while the mother was told about Nhaveen bleeding on his bed from the waist down while being treated at triage.
Later, a prosecutor also revealed that the family of the four accused in the murder case have been harassing one of the prosecution’s key witnesses, causing the court to sharply warn them against doing so.
Bullying victim T Nhaveen. His mother told the court that he ‘was the nicest and never hurt anyone’.
In a tearful testimony today, Nhaveen’s mother D Shanti, 47, said the student of SMK Hj Mohd Nor Ahmad missed most of his Form Three due to incessant bullying by a classmate.
Shanti said she then went to confront the classmate named “Raga” about why he was after her son. Raga replied: “Aunty, we were just playing around.” She then urged Raga and others to stop bullying Nhaveen, but this fell on deaf ears.
She said Raga and his friends later started insisting that Nhaveen follow them wherever they went. Shanti said Nhaveen was then told to stop complaining to her about them. Nhaveen was further told: “Why you so pondan (effeminate)? A true man does not complain to his mother.”
She then proceeded to identify Raga as J Ragesuthan, 22, who was in the dock, as requested by the prosecutor. Shanti said when Raga was suspended from school at the start of Form 4, Nhaveen began going to school regularly.
Ragesuthan, S Gokulan, 22, and V Sharmah, 21, K Tatisan, 20, were charged with the murder of Nhaveen at the magistrates’ court on June 19, 2017. Sharmah and Tatisan were juveniles when they were charged.
They were accused of murdering Nhaveen near the Karpal Singh Learning Centre, Jalan Kaki Bukit, Gelugor between 11pm and midnight on June 9, 2017. They have since been detained at the Sungai Petani Juvenile Prison.
In her testimony, Shanti said: “Nhaveen was ambitious, he wanted to pass his SPM and take up a degree in music and study in a college in the Klang Valley. He worked as a shoe promoter at Queensbay Mall for a couple of months to pay for his tuition fees,” she said.
In their examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Amril Johari, Shanti was told to recall the day when she found out that Nhaveen was beaten up.
She said Nhaveen’s friend T Previin had come to their Taman Tun Sardon flat to tell her the news. Previin, who had a bloodied face, told her that he and Nhaveen had been beaten up by Raga and his friends. She was also told that Nhaveen had been “abducted” by the gang led by Raga at a field in Bukit Gelugor.
Shanti said she then called Raga on Previin’s phone, asking about Nhaveen’s whereabouts, demanding Raga to bring Nhaveen home at once. She said Raga was fierce in his response.
“Raga told me: ‘I can’t send him back home until I settle with him.’ I didn’t understand what he meant, and I told him that I would lodge a police report if he did not. Raga then said ‘cannot’ and hung up,” he said.
Shanti said her brother Karunagaran had gone searching for Nhaveen at the padang, but he was nowhere to be found. She said an unknown person called her at 1.40am, telling her to “claim” Nhaveen at a field in Minden Heights.
Moments later, a man claiming to be a brother of one of the assailants, called to say he was taking Nhaveen to the Penang Hospital as he was badly injured.
Shanti said that when she arrived at the hospital at 2.05am, she was told by a doctor that Nhaveen had died. Later, the same doctor told her that he was “breathing again” but had suffered from severe injuries to his head.
Later, another doctor by the name of “Priya” told her there was blood on his bed as he had suffered from a “terrible tear” on his anus.
Shanti claimed that Dr Priya was immediately replaced after the revelation of the anal tear.
“I became ‘mental’ (distraught) after hearing about the anal injuries. I could not believe that Raga, a school friend, could do this to him. My boy was the nicest, he never hurt anyone,” the mother of two told the court.
Shanti, who was weeping openly in court, said she was not seeking revenge through the trial but wanted justice for her son. The court took two short breaks to allow her to calm down.
“This is too cruel. It is too traumatic. I think of him every day. He helped me, took care of me as a single mother. I want to follow my son to where he is now.”
Meanwhile, Shanti’s cousin, Vengadesh Rajalingam, 57, recounted the time he was called to Penang Hospital to check on Nhaveen. He said his nephew was lying on the floor of the hospital concourse, motionless.
He said an undertaker who was around there at the time, had told him that Nhaveen’s body was “sejuk” (cold) and he was likely dead. He said after the undertaker called up some doctors, Nhaveen was wheeled into a ward after about 20 minutes.
Vengadesh said he was later called to identify the body at the morgue. He said there were plenty of black marks on Nhaveen’s body, which a pathologist by the name of “Dr Amir” said it was consistent with cigarette burns.
At this point, judicial commissioner Mohd Radzi Abdul Hamid interjected, saying the cigarette burns were not mentioned in the post-mortem report. Vengadesh said Dr Amir had told him that “it would be noted in a different report”.
Vengadesh was then shown pictures of Nhaveen at the morgue, to which he said: “this is not Nhaveen, I can’t recognise it at all.”
Later, DPP Amril said he had received a complaint from a prosecution witness that there has been harassment from the families of the accused. He then asked the court to admonish them.
Radzi then sternly warned the families of the accused not to contact any of the witnesses, saying it was illegal to do so. He said the prosecutor’s office may lodge a police report if there was such an incident again.
The trial continues tomorrow. – FMT