Saturday, October 13, 2012

Press Statement by Chow Kon Yeow on Cheah Chin Lee

YB Chow Kon Yeow
Level 52 Komtar
10503 Penang

11 October, 2012

In support of the family of the late Cheah Chin Lee (died in police custody):
Police Yet to Inform Courts of Chin Lee’s Death
It is now close to two months after Cheah Chin Lee died in the Police’s custody. I am here today with Chin Lee’s family members who are still waiting for answers. Sadly, despite numerous promises made to the family, the Police have been unable to show any progress for the family to have faith in their efforts.

The family’s lawyer wrote to the Magistrates Court of George Town, Penang to enquire about initiating inquest proceedings and received a reply from the court registrar on 25 September, 2012 saying that the courts have not received a Sudden Death Report regarding Chin Lee’s death on 13 August.

Section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Code requires, “when any person dies while in the custody of the police or in a mental hospital or prison, the officer who had the custody of that person or was in charge of that mental hospital or prison, as the case may be, shall immediately give intimation of such death to the nearest Magistrate, and the Magistrate or some other Magistrate shall, in the case of a death in the custody of the police, and in other cases may, if he thinks expedient, hold an inquiry into the cause of death.”

I would like to emphasise that it is the statutory duty of the Police to inform the courts of a death of a person in their care and that this is required to be done immediately. It is now close to two months since Chin Lee’s death and I would like to ask if the Police are deliberately delaying the matter. What excuses do the police have for the family this time? If the police cannot even do something as simple as following a statutory procedure, how can the police claim to be conducting an “independent” investigation over the death of a person who was in their care?

I hereby urge the Penang CPO Abd Rahim Hanafi to take responsibility and explain the delay over this matter. I do not expect more empty promises to be made, but instead in the soonest possible submit the Sudden Death Report to the Magistrates Court as required under S334 of the CPC. The Police must not be seen to hinder the family’s quest for the truth behind Chin Lee’s death.

Change | For a Better Malaysia.
Chow Kon Yeow
Penang State DAP Chairperson

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