By V. Anbalagan | Free Malaysia Today

The Court of Appeal said the crime committed by the six men was “gruesome and rare”. — FILE PIC

The Court of Appeal has upheld the death penalty for six people, including a former military doctor, convicted of the murder of Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Morais eight years ago.

Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail, who led a three-member bench, said the High Court had committed no appealable errors in law and fact to warrant setting aside the convictions.

In delivering the broad grounds, she said the facts revealed that the murder was well-planned, with efforts to conceal evidence such as by burning the deceased’s car.

“The murder was gruesome and the facts of the case could be considered the rarest of rare,” she said.

Sitting with Hadhariah were Justices Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Azmi Ariffin.

The High Court sentenced the six men to death on July 10, 2020, after they were found guilty of murdering Morais on Sept 4, 2015, somewhere between Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, and Subang Jaya in Selangor.

Morais, 55, was reported missing on Sept 4, 2015, and was last seen leaving his apartment at Menara Duta in Kuala Lumpur in his official car. His body was found in an oil drum filled with cement in Subang Jaya 12 days later.

The High Court ruled that former military doctor R. Kunaseegaran, R. Dinishwaran, A. K. Thinesh Kumar, M. Vishwanath, S. Nimalan and S. Ravi Chandran had a common intention to kill Morais.

Hadhariah said the prosecution’s evidence relied heavily on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of G. Gunasekaran.

Gunasekaran was jointly charged with the six but the prosecution later withdrew its case against him.

He then pleaded guilty in the Sessions Court to concealing Morais’ body and disposing of the number plate of the deceased’s car, and was sentenced to two years in jail.

The prosecution contends that some of the accused in a car caused an accident with the vehicle driven by Morais as he was leaving his home.

Hadhariah said the trial judge was correct in calling for their defence based on the “last seen together” principle, minus Kunaseegaran.

“A forensic pathologist testified that more than one person was involved in the crime and that the deceased died of suffocation,” she said.

Hadhariah also said the appellants raised the defence that they did not know the deceased, had no motive to commit the crime, and were good people.

However, she said Gunasekaran was a truthful witness and that the defence of the appellants was an afterthought.

“Kunaseegaran had a motive to murder the deceased, and the rest who participated in the crime took instruction from him (Kunaseegaran),” she said.

Counsel N. Sivananthan, appeared for Kunaseegaran, M. Manoharan acted for Dinishwaran, Kitson Foong for Ravi Chandran, Burhanudeen Abdul Wahid for Thinesh Kumar, Afifuddin Ahmad Hafifi for Vishwanath, and Amer Hamzah Arshad for S. Nimalan.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Dusuki Mokhtar, Fairuz Johari, and Fuad Abdul Aziz appeared for the prosecution.

Sivananthan, speaking on behalf of the lawyers, told reporters their clients intended to appeal and that a notice of appeal would be filed today.

“We expect the hearing in the Federal Court to be fixed soon as the bench today indicated that the written grounds are ready,” he said.