KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 ― The Malaysian Bar assured yesterday the families of T. Nhaveen’s accused killers in a high-profile bullying case that their loved ones would receive legal representation.
Malaysian Bar president George Varughese explained that the court will appoint a counsel for the four teenagers who were charged yesterday with the murder of the 18-year-old in Penang.
“In all cases where capital punishment is imposed on conviction, the Court will assign a counsel to represent the accused.
“Thus all the accused in respect of Nhaveen's murder will be afforded legal representation during the trial,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday.
Malay Mail previously reported that families of five teenagers alleged to have beaten Nhaveen to death could not find legal representation and claimed the legal fraternity had abandoned them amid public sentiment over the high-profile case.
J. Ragesuthen and S. Gokulan, both 18, and two 17-year-old boys were charged yesterday with murdering Nhaveen on June 9 in Bukit Gelugor, George Town, an offence that carries a mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
The four boys were also charged with causing grievous hurt to Nhaveen’s friend, 19-year-old T. Previin, at the same time and place. A Sessions Court judge told the accused to apply to the Legal Aid Council for legal representation.
Penang police told reporters that the fifth suspect behind Nhaveen’s death would be witness for the prosecution.
George rebuked claims made by a brother of one of the suspects, who had said that no lawyer wanted to represent the group.
“We don't know how many lawyers have been approached by the families and how many declined, it is also not right to assume that no lawyer wants to represent them,” said the head of the peninsula-based legal body.
Nhaveen and his friend T. Previin, 19, were allegedly assaulted by the group on June 9 late in the night while they were at a burger stall in Bukit Gelugor.
The group allegedly dragged Nhaveen to a nearby field, where they allegedly assaulted and sodomised him with a blunt object, while Previin managed to escape with injuries.
Nhaveen was declared brain dead by doctors and died from injuries on June 15.