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Lock-up death: Court awards RM281,300 to family of detainee

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 13): The High Court here today awarded RM281,300 in damages to the family of Benedict Thanilas who died in the Jinjang police central lock-up four years ago.

Judicial Commissioner Quay Chew Soon made the order on the damages for the deceased’s wife N Janagi and daughter B Angeline after allowing the lawsuit against the government during the online proceedings today.

The family filed the suit against 23 members of the police force, the inspector-general of police (IGP) and the government of Malaysia in July 2020.

The family claimed that the death of Benedict, 44, who had several health issues, was due to police negligence in ensuring the deceased had access to his medicines and other medical care while in custody.

When contacted by Bernama, the family’s lawyer M Visvanathan said the court had awarded RM4,000 for funeral expenses, RM30,000 for bereavement, RM91,800 in dependency claims, RM50,000 in damages for pain and suffering, and RM100,000 in aggravated damages.

“The court also ordered the defendants to pay RM40,000 in costs to the plaintiffs,” he said, adding that the court did not award any damages for misfeasance in public office in this case.

Benedict was reportedly arrested by the police from the Jinjang district headquarters on June 29, 2017 to facilitate a probe into a drug trafficking case before he was rushed to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital for breathing difficulty on July 10 of the same year.

Last year, Coroner Mahyon Talib ruled that there were negligence and dereliction of duty by the police leading to Benedict's death.

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