The T Nhaveen murder trial today had to be postponed for another month after its star witness, T Previin, and the deceased’s uncle were nowhere to be found.
Previin was beaten up together with Nhaveen in 2017 and is one of the eyewitnesses of how a brawl left his best friend succumbing to brain injury later.
With the two earlier court dates in June skipped due to the movement control order (MCO) and today’s no-show by the two key witnesses, the two-day hearing has been postponed for another month.
The trial began on May 4 for two days, and was supposed to continue on June 29 and 30, July 6 and on Aug 5 and 6. A total of 12 witnesses were supposed to testify.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Amril Johari told the court that Previin and his uncle, D Karunagaran, were nowhere to be found.
Earlier in the trial, Karunagaran was said to have come into contact with those alleged to have abducted Nhaveen in his last hours.
Amril said a subpoena could not be served on the two at their last known addresses. Attempts to reach them via phone had also failed, he told the court.
Judicial commissioner Mohd Radzi Abdul Hamid then told the prosecutors that they must do all they can to produce the witnesses in court as it was an important case of public interest.
He also said the prosecution must not allow the trial to be interrupted by witnesses failing to attend. He then set Aug 5 and 6 as new trial dates.
DPP Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim, who is also Penang prosecution director, then told the court he was doing all he could to search for them.
“We really want to uphold justice for the deceased and we are pursuing this case urgently,” he told the court today.
J Ragesuthan, S Gokulan, 22, and two others are 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. They have been detained at the Sungai Petani Juvenile Prison.
At the earlier trial in May, Previin and Karunagaran had been named as key witnesses by the prosecution. Previin is said to have faced threats from people claiming to be related to the accused.
Police have since arrested three men, aged 23 to 26, for criminal intimidation and had offered Previin police protection but this was declined.
It was reported that Previin had since opted to be under the care of activist Arun Dorasamy, who was reported to have taken Previin to Kuala Lumpur to ensure he is protected from threats from third parties.
DPP Yazid Mustaqim Roslan also prosecuted, while Ranjit Singh Dhillon, Manveer Singh Dhillon and Yagoo Subramaniam represented the accused.
Lawyer Sukhindarpal Singh held a watching brief for the Bar Council. – FMT