By V. Anbalagan | Free Malaysia Today

Six men were convicted for the murder of DPP Kevin Morais, whose body was found in an oil drum filled with cement in Subang Jaya on Sept 16, 2015. — FILE PIC

A trial judge “cherry-picked” the evidence of an accomplice to convict a military doctor, one of the six men sentenced to death for the murder of deputy public prosecutor Kevin Morais eight years ago, a lawyer told the Court of Appeal.

Counsel N. Sivananthan, appearing for Dr R. Kunaseegaran, said the High Court had found G. Gunasekaran to be a partner in the crime but the trial judge’s conclusion went against the evidence presented in court.

“The trial judge cherry-picked evidence to incriminate my client in the murder,” the lawyer said in his submission before a three-member bench chaired by Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail.

Also on the panel were Justices Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Azmi Ariffin.

Sivananthan, who was assisted by Jasmine Cheong, said if the trial judge had taken a maximum evaluation approach, he would have found the testimony of Gunasekaran against Kunaseegaran to be “incredible and unreliable”.

Furthermore, Sivananthan submitted, the trial judge would have concluded that the evidence adduced against Kunaseegaran to determine motive was nothing more than a theory.

Gunasekaran was initially jointly charged with murdering Morais but the prosecution later withdrew its case against him.

He later pleaded guilty in the sessions court and was sentenced to two years in jail for concealing Morais’s body and disposing of the plate number of the deceased’s car.

Sivananthan said Gunasekaran’s evidence was not consistent with the statement he gave to the police during the investigation, as confirmed by the recording officer who was called as a defence witness.

“My client is not involved in the murder, but Gunasekaran was the mastermind of the crime,” he said.

Lawyer M. Manoharan acted for R. Dinishwaran, Kitson Foong for S. Ravi Chandran, Burhanudeen Abdul Wahid for AK Thinesh Kumar, Afifuddin Ahmad Hafifi for M. Vishwanath, and Amer Hamzah Arshad for S. Nimalan.

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, Selangor, 12 days later.

The High Court ruled that all six men had a common intention to kill Morais.

Today, Sivananthan submitted that his client was not involved in the crime. He said the remaining five men and Gunasekaran were the ones with a common intention to murder Morais.

The lawyer said Kunaseegaran was initially charged with abetting, but the charge was amended to participating in the murder soon after Gunasekaran had completed giving his evidence.

“The prosecution’s evidence only showed my client’s involvement after the crime. There is nothing to show a prior meeting of minds between Kunaseegaran and the rest of the accused,” he added.

Manoharan and Burhanudeen submitted there was no evidence to implicate their clients in the murder.

On the other hand, Amer Hamzah said that at best his client had committed culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The hearing will resume on Thursday.