By V. Anbalagan | Free Malaysia Today

The six accused were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of murdering Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Morais eight years ago. — BERNAMA PIC

The prosecution has suggested that the death penalty be maintained if the Court of Appeal decides to uphold the conviction of six people for the murder of Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Morais eight years ago.

DPP Dusuki Mokhtar said the murder was “gruesome” and the facts of the case could be considered the “rarest of rare”.

“There was a blatant disregard for human life,” he said in his submissions before a three-member bench chaired by Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail today.

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

Dusuki, who was assisted by DPPs Fairuz Johari and Fuad Abdul Aziz, said this when Hadhariah asked him to submit on sentencing.

Judges have been given sentencing discretion for murder and drug trafficking after amendments to several laws took effect on July 4 . For murder, they may impose a jail term of between 30 years and 40 years, while male offenders below 50 years of age could be whipped a minimum of 12 times.

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, had been 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, AK Thinesh Kumar, M. Vishwanath, S. Nimalan, and S. Ravi Chandran had a common intention to kill Morais.

Today, Dusuki also submitted that the evidence from an accomplice witness, G. Gunasekran, was “more than sufficient” to convict the appellants.

Gunasekaran was initially jointly charged with murdering Morais, but the prosecution withdrew its case against him. He later pleaded guilty in the sessions court and was sentenced to two years’ jail for concealing Morais’s body and disposing his car’s number plate.

Dusuki said Kunaseegaran was involved in the crime, although he was never present at the crime scene with the rest of the accused. He said the motive for the murder was irrelevant as long as it was proven that Morais was murdered.

“There is no requirement under our law (to prove motive), but the trial judge had drawn inferences based on evidence presented by prosecution witnesses,” he said.

He drew a parallel to the conviction of former policemen Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar for the murder of Mongolian citizen Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006 as the motive of the crime was not revealed in court.

Counsel N. Sivananthan, appearing for Kunaseegaran; Manoharan for Dinishwaran; Burhanudeen Abdul Wahid for Thinesh Kumar; and Afifuddin Ahmad Hafifi for Vishwanath submitted that their clients should be acquitted as the ingredients of the charge were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Amer Hamzah Arshad, acting for Nimalan, said his client could at best be convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, abduction under the Penal Code, and disposing of evidence.

Kitson Foong, who represented Ravi Chandran, had submitted that his client could be charged with kidnapping Morais under the Kidnapping Act.

Hadhariah said the bench would deliver its ruling on March 14.