The High Court today (13 Sept) awarded RM281,300 in damages to the family of Benedict Thanilas who died in the Jinjang police central lockup, four years ago while suffering hypertension and diabetes.
According to Bernama, Judicial Commissioner Quay Chew Soon made the order on the damages for the deceased’s wife, N. Janagi and daughter, B. Angeline, after allowing the lawsuit against the government during an online proceeding today.
The family had filed a suit against 23 members of the police force, the Inspector-General of Police and the government of Malaysia back in July 2020.
Their lawyer M. Visvanathan said the court had awarded RM4,000 for funeral expenses, RM30,000 for bereavement, RM91,800 in dependency claim, RM50,000 in damages for pain and suffering, and RM100,000 in aggravated damages.
“The court also ordered the defendants to pay RM40,000 in costs to the plaintiffs,” he said, adding that the court did not award any damages for misfeasance in public office in this case.
Back in September 2020, the coroner’s court ruled that the death of Benedict in police custody could have been avoided if he had been given the medical attention he needed.
The suspect, who took eight different types of medication daily, had a heart bypass operation just before his detention under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985.
The 44-year-old was found unconscious in his cell at the Jinjang police lock-up on 10 July 2017. The coroner’s court ruled that neglect by the authorities had contributed to his death.
It was also previously reported that the police officers who arrested Benedict did not take his medicines along when arresting him but instead told his wife to bring them to the Sentul police station later in the day. However, his toxicology report after his death found no traces of the eight medicines in his body.
Besides that, lawyer M. Visvanathan was quoted as saying that there was no evidence that Benedict was involved in drug trafficking.
Meanwhile, Benedict’s wife insists she will not be satisfied unless the police and the government apologise for her husband’s death.
“I’m happy with the judgement but I want the police and the government to admit their guilt. I only want that,” said Janagi today, according to FMT.
“My husband was extremely sick when he was in the lockup, but they just ignored him. I’m really infuriated. That (an apology) is all I want,” she explained.