A key witness in the T Nhaveen murder trial has testified that a police report he made last year was not true, a day after claiming that an affidavit made under his name was also not his before later making an about-turn.
Under cross-examination by the defence, T Previin, 23, said a police report lodged in his name was false.
T Previin (centre) the star witness of the Nhaveen murder trial, with his mother and activist Arun Dorasamy in December.
In that police report, Previin sought to update missing details from his first report in 2017, which was made a day after a melee that left him injured and Nhaveen dead.
In the report, Previin claimed about 20 people were beating up Nhaveen at a park in Bukit Gelugor, naming some of the accused and others involved in the melee on June 9, 2017.
Lead defence counsel Naran Singh then asked Previin if he was sure that the May 22, 2021 supplementary police report last year was false. Previin quickly replied: “Yes.”
Previin said subsequent police reports he made were on the advice and guidance of activist Arun Dorasamy, including one against an assistant superintendent of police, lodged at Bukit Aman’s integrity and standards compliance department.
Later, Naran asked Previin to recall what he told a police inspector, Aniq Irfan, after being admitted to Penang Hospital with injuries to his cheek from a fight in which Nhaveen was also beaten up.
Previin said he couldn’t recall anything, leading Naran to ask if he wanted to read his statement taken down by the visiting inspector.
The statement in question, informally called a 112 statement is the first opportunity for a person to put on record their defence in the event criminal charges are made.
Deputy public prosecutor Amril Johari objected to the exposure of the 112 statement, saying the defence appeared to be on a “fishing expedition”.
Naran said the Evidence Act provided that a witness can be given a chance to refresh his memory by reviewing his earlier statement.
“I’m saddened that the DPP is reluctant to surrender this statement to the court. I don’t understand why there is an objection. I want the witness (Previin) to merely read the statement,” he said.
Judge Radzi Abdul Hamid said since Previin could not recall what took place, he should not be allowed to read it. He added that reading the statement in open court may be prejudicial.
Amril said the prosecution was ready to share Previin’s statement recorded by the inspector but only selected parts of the statement that Previin said he had forgotten.
Naran said showing selected parts of the statement would be futile as Previin had no recollection of any part of the statement.
Radzi then said, given Previin’s situation, the Tamil interpreter should read out the statement to him in full. The judge then ordered the gallery to be cleared.
After the public was allowed in again, Radzi instructed the defence lawyers to be given a copy of Previin’s police statement as it was allowed under the law.
DPP Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim requested that the case be adjourned so that he could refer the matter to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), as the court’s decision would set a precedent for future cases.
Naran said the defence would also submit representations to the AGC to study the case again.
Earlier, Naran objected to the prosecution’s use of the StreetView feature in Google Maps when questioning Previin in earlier proceedings. He said it was not allowed under the law.
However, Radzi said he would rule on the matter in his grounds of judgement.
Five people are charged with murder in Nhaveen’s death. They are S Gopinaath, 30, J Ragesuthan, 22, S Gokulan, 22, and two other unnamed persons who were juveniles when the offence took place.
They are accused of committing the offence at Jalan Bunga Raya park between 11pm and midnight on June 9, 2017.
The five are also charged with committing grievous assault against Previin near the Karpal Singh Learning Centre in Bukit Gelugor that night.
The hearing will continue on Sept 19. – FMT