Police observers object to photo in Suhakam inquiry into disappearances

15th Nov 2017

On Nov 3, lawyers had submitted a photo to the panel showing two masked policemen wearing uniforms without the police insignia arresting a suspect during a police operation.

They had sought the opinion of investigating officer ASP Supari Muhammad in identifying whether they were policemen in police outfits.

On Wednesday however, police observers requested for the photo evidence to be expunged and for the witness statement to be retracted, claiming that the photo used by the lawyers was a “cut and paste job”.

Police observers added that they would be taking further action against the lawyers under Section 192 in the Penal Code for fabricating false evidence if the evidence was not retracted.

Lawyers then asked them to view the gallery of photos in the online news article.

While there were two photos in the article, lawyers had used only one in the inquiry.

“It is up to our discretion on how we want to conduct the case by showing only one picture,” said the lawyers.

One photo showed two masked policemen not wearing uniforms bearing the official police insignia arresting a suspect during a police operation while another showed three policemen wearing uniforms bearing the official police insignia arresting another suspect in a police operation.

Chairman of the panel of inquiry commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai said there were actually two pictures on the website and confirmed it was no cut and paste work.

Police observers were told that there were two photos in the gallery and Mah asked if they would like to publicly apologise to the lawyers regarding the allegations.

Police observers then apologised to the lawyers and withdrew their earlier allegation.

However, they continued to argue that it was “misleading” that lawyers presented only one out of the two photos in the inquiry.

“Lawyers should have produced both photos based on the article.

“Why use only one photo, when the photo can give the public a negative image about the police?

“Every operation by the police must be accompanied by police bearing the official insignia.

“We have agreed to withdraw the complaint (on the fabrication) and ask the lawyers to present the whole picture,” said police observers.

Lawyers had argued that delaying the ruling on the allegations by the police observers would affect the proceedings and that they did not want to be seen as misleading the inquiry.

Mah, who had initially said the panel would only make a ruling at the end of inquiry, then met with lawyers shortly after 4pm.

The photo and witness statement on Nov 3 will also not be expunged.

Koh, 63, was abducted from his car by a group of men along Jalan SS4B/10 in Petaling Jaya at about 11am on Feb 13 while on his way to a friend’s house.

The inquiry will resume on Thursday (Nov 16) at 9am with ASP Supari taking the witness stand.

Article found at:  https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/11/15/police-observers-object-to-photo-in-suhakam-inquiry-into-disappearances/#0xag54R1fzMVjcDy.99