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Malaysian Court awards RM351,000 to children of car repossessor allegedly shot by police http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/10/08/Court-awards-children-of-car-repossessor/ PUTRAJAYA: Three daughters of a man who was allegedly shot dead by police, were awarded a sum of RM351,000 in damages by the Court of Appeal which allowed their claim for loss of dependency due to the wrongful death of their father. A three-member panel led by Justice Datuk Linton Albert unanimously allowed the appeal brought by the three girls, Nurasmira Maulat Abdul Jaffar, Siti Asma Abdul Jaffar and Siti Fatimah Abdul Jaffar, to reverse a High Court’s dismissal of their civil suit against the Inspector-General of Police, the Government and a police officer, ASP Ong Seng Keong. The two other judges were Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer and Vernon Ong Lam Kiat. “The police are paid through public funds with a primary duty to arrest criminals and put them for trial. They cannot be allowed to roam trigger happy as this will be in violation of the rule of law and the relevant authorities must seriously check such violations,” Justice Hamid said in his 31-page judgment. “It is trite that the police force has not been endowed with ‘executioner’ powers in the pretext of self-defence,” he said. The panel awarded RM51,000 in damages for loss of dependency and RM300,000 in exemplary damages, as well as RM50,000 in costs for the proceedings at the Court of Appeal and High Court to the girls aged 15, 8 and 7 years who through their mother, Abra Bibi Shahul Hamid, brought the suit against the police for allegedly causing the wrongful death of their father, Abdul Jaafar Abdul Mutalib, 38. “What is reprehensible and needs to be condemned are fake encounters as the facts of the instant case shows prima facie and the failure of the relevant authorities to discipline such officers and worse still, claim self-defence under the Police Act which has no relevancy to the killing,” Justice Hamid added. He said the senior federal counsel who represented the respondents had also failed to bring to the court’s attention any law that giving powers to the police and the right to shoot on sight or any law relating to self-defence or fulfilment of any Special Operating Procedure. “Section 24 of the Police Act 1967 has nothing to do with self-defence to exonerate liability from unlawful killing,” he said, adding that this section also did not give the police any power to kill. Justice Hamid said the courts had a constitutional duty to deal with “police excesses” and to provide the necessary input or directions for appropriate action by the relevant authorities to ensure the rule of law was maintained at all times. In the incident, the deceased, a car repossessor, was sitting in the front passenger seat of a Proton Waja when the car and another vehicle were ambushed by two police Special Action Force teams near a petrol station in Batu 3, Shah Alam on Sept 2, 2008 which claimed the cars had been travelling in a “suspicious manner”. The police, however, said they had opened fire in self-defence after shots were fired at them from the direction of the Proton Waja, causing the death of the deceased who sustained six gunshot wounds, and three other persons who were also in the car. The police did not dispute the killing but had said it was done in defence and had relied on Section 24 (1)(b) of the Police Act, which states that any police officer may stop and search without warrant any vehicle or vessel which he has reasonable grounds for suspecting is being used in the commission of any offence against any law in force. Counsel V. Rajadevan who represented the girls had submitted that the police should not have fatally shot the deceased, instead they should have arrested him and charged him in court if he was found to have committed any offence. They filed the civil suit in 2009 and the High Court dismissed it last year. The respondents were represented by senior federal counsel Habibah Haron. – Bernama