Thursday, July 11, 2013
5 lawyers and 1 activist receive RM10,000 each
KUALA LUMPUR: FIVE lawyers and an activist were awarded RM10,000 each after they won a suit against the police and government over wrongful arrest and detention during a walk to mark the World Human Rights Day in 2007.
High Court judge Datuk John Louis O'Hara yesterday allowed the civil suit filed by lawyers R. Sivarasa, N. Surendran, Latheefa Koya, Eric Paulsen, Amer Hamzah Arshad and activist Johny Andu @ Abu Bakar Adnan, ruling that their arrest and subsequent detention by the police were illegal.
In the suit filed on Dec 8, 2010, the plaintiffs had named the then Dang Wangi police deputy chief Superintendent Che Hamzah Che Ismail, inspector-general of police, home ministry and the government as defendants.
O'Hara ruled that based on the video of the incident, he found that Che Hamzah had given conflicting and contradicting instructions for the plaintiffs to disperse.
"He had not been decisive of what he had issued."
On the plaintiffs' contention that the prosecution against them at the Sessions Court was done in bad faith, O'Hara said the attorney-general had prerogative power under the Federal Constitution to prosecute them.
"I did not find that it was initiated in bad faith."
He ordered the defendants to pay RM60,000 costs and also awarded RM5,454 in special damages to Paulsen.
The six had claimed in their suit that they participated in and/or organised a peaceful rally and march in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, which is celebrated worldwide on Dec 10 every year.
They claimed that police subsequently allowed them to participate in the march for 10 minutes, but before the 10 minutes had expired, they were surrounded by a large group of policemen.
They claimed that the police gave orders to disperse, but while attempting to do so, they were arrested.
The six were charged on Dec 10, 2007, with being in an unlawful assembly and failing to adhere to police orders to disperse.
They were alleged to have committed the offence on Dec 9, 2007, in front of Kamdar building in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
However, they were acquitted at the end of the prosecution's case without their defence being called.