By V. Anbalagan | Free Malaysia Today

The Court of Appeal is hearing the appeal of six men convicted of murdering Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Morais on Sept 4, 2015. — FILE PIC

The prosecution failed to establish a common intention among six accused persons to murder Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Morais eight years ago despite turning a seventh into a material witness, the Court of Appeal heard today.

Counsel Kitson Foong, representing S. Ravi Chandran, said the trial had begun with G. Gunasekaran in the dock along with the six.

“The prosecution made the offer to Gunasekaran for them to obtain murder convictions against the six men,” he 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.

Gunasekaran went on to plead guilty in the Sessions Court to a reduced charge of concealing Morais’s body and disposing the number plate of the deceased’s car. He was sentenced to two years in jail.

Foong, however, said the murder conviction recorded against his client could not stand as the trial judge’s analysis of facts and evidence was erroneous.

“The error of law is so serious that it warrants appellate intervention. The court must find justice,” said Foong, who was assisted by Chew Jee San and Vam Shir Mooi.

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 all six men had a common intention to kill Morais.

However, Foong submitted today that the trial judge had erred in finding that Gunasekaran’s evidence was corroborated on 11 points. He also said the evidence did not implicate Ravi Chandran in any murder.

“My client could have been charged with kidnapping for ransom under the Kidnapping Act,” he said, adding that the evidence supported a charge under section 365 of the Penal Code.

He contended that the prosecution had failed to prove Ravi Chandran had a common intention with the remaining accused persons to murder Morais.

“At best, it was their common intention to kidnap the victim,” he added.

Counsel N. Sivananthan is appearing for former military doctor Dr. R. Kunaseegaran, M. Manoharan acted for R. Dinishwaran, Burhanudeen Abdul Wahid for AK Thinesh Kumar, Afifuddin Ahmad Hafifi for M. Vishwanath, and Amer Hamzah Arshad for S. Nimalan.

The hearing will resume on Dec 14.