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MyWatch ex-chairman gets leave to appeal unlawful detention - The Leaders Online
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MyWatch ex-chairman gets leave to appeal unlawful detention

MyWatch ex-chairman gets leave to appeal unlawful detention

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 20 — Former Malaysian Crime Watch Task Force (MyWatch) chairman R. Sri Sanjeevan can appeal to the Federal Court against the dismissal of a ruling in declaring his 16-day detention under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA) as unlawful.

The Federal Court three-member bench led by Justice Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan together with Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil in a 2-1 majority decision granted leave to Sanjeevan as the applicant to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision, however, Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang dissented.

The constitutional question allowed to be argued in the substantive appeal is where an order issuing the writ of habeas corpus is made in relation to the remand of a person, is it a necessary implication of such order that the detention was not effected in accordance with law under Article 5 (2) of the Federal Constitution, and was thus unlawful for contravening Article 5 (1) Article 5 (2) of the Federal Constitution and amounting to false imprisonment.

Sri Sanjevaan, 39, sued the investigating officer ASP Poonnam E Keling, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Government of Malaysia, claiming he was wrongly detained by Poonnam for 16 days from July 10 to 26, 2016, and that he was also assaulted and had also sought damages for losses and injuries suffered by him.

On June 28, 2022, High Court judge Datuk Ahmad Bache allowed Sri Sanjeevan’s civil suit for false imprisonment and ordered general, exemplary and aggravated damages to be paid to him.

The judge also granted a declaration that Sri Sanjeevan’s detention was unlawful and a declaration that his rights under Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution had been breached by Poonnam and found Poonnam to be liable for unlawfully detaining Sri Sanjeevan and the IGP and the government were both vicariously liable for Poonnam’s actions.

The police and the government filed the appeal to the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s decision and on Sept 15 last year, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal to overturn the High Court‘s decision.

Sri Sanjeevan was arrested under POCA for alleged involvement in criminal activities on July 10, 2016, and was produced before a magistrate the following day who issued a 21-day remand order.

Before the expiry of the 21-day remand period, Sri Sanjeevan filed a habeas corpus application to secure his release from detention and the High Court allowed his application on July 26, 2016, due to a breach of a mandatory procedure under POCA.

The government filed an appeal to the Federal Court but subsequently withdrew the appeal. Sri Sanjeevan then filed a civil action against the police and government for false imprisonment.

Sri Sanjeevan was represented by lawyer Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar while Senior Federal Counsel Andi Razalijaya A Dadi acted for the government.