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Waytha: IGP can’t refer ‘suspect’ to mental hospital

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Waytha: IGP can’t refer ‘suspect’ to mental hospital

 | April 26, 2016

The IGP has taken it upon himself to refer a suspect to Hospital Bahagia in Tanjung Rambutan when the matter should have been brought before the Court.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi has pointed out in a statement that Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar cannot, under law, refer anyone to a mental hospital for an evaluation before deciding whether to charge the person for an alleged crime. “The matter should first be brought to a court of law which can then refer the matter to a hospital for expert subject matter opinion.”

“Insanity, or mental illness, is a legal definition, not a medical one.”

Hindraf Chief P. Waythamoorthy, a senior lawyer in private practice and human rights advocate, confessed that he was puzzled by the explanation offered by the IGP who reportedly confirmed that the man who demolished Hindu deities in Ipoh two days ago “ran amok and was mentally unsound”. “The IGP has taken it upon himself to send the suspect to Hospital Bahagia in Tanjung Rambutan.”

“Again, the matter should have been referred to the Court.”

Upon charges preferred in Court, likely under Section 295-298 of the Penal Code which covers desecration of places of worship, argued Waytha, the suspect could be referred to a psychiatrist. “This is under the order of the court as per Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code.”

“The IGP does not possess any powers whatsoever to refer the suspect to a psychiatrist under the law.”

The Hindraf Chief was commenting on The Sun Daily online report which quoted Khalid as saying, “I believe any sane person will not do such a thing … and the people should understand this”.

Hindraf, said Waytha, has taken the line that “it was unbecoming of the IGP to have responded in such an irresponsible manner”.

Also, in this particular case, the Hindraf Chief added that it was puzzling as to why the IGP appears to be “circumventing the process and taking the law into his own hands” while wanting the public to believe the man “ran amok and is of unsound mind … and people should understand this”.

Every other criminal on earth is probably of unsound mind, pointed out Waytha. “Men commit crimes as they all suffer from a variety of deranged minds. The law recognizes limited categories of defences for certain offences.”

“Hindraf calls upon the IGP to read the comments widely available online on the position that he has taken in referring a suspect to a mental hospital.”

Waytha believes that the majority of the people do not believe the suspect referred by Khalid to a mental hospital was of unsound mind and the reasons were obvious. “The suspect had a parang and dangerous items and ISIS flags clearly displayed in his car. Photos of this are going viral online.”

Instead of promising and assuring the public of a thorough, impartial and independent investigation, the IGP had resorted to put the cart before the horse in a tacit “defense of unsound mind” in favour of the suspect, charged Waytha. “He has not taken into account the hope for justice and fairness expected by the public. There’s public concern and public interest at stake.”

The NGO urged the police to conduct a fair and impartial investigation taking into account the suspect had material including ISIS flags. “His background, his acquaintances, his travel patterns and international connections have to be investigated thoroughly,” reiterated Waytha. “The IGP cannot plainly dismiss the suspect as being mentally unstable.”

“There are larger interests of national security at stake.”