Malaysia court strikes out Kelantan prince's false imprisonment suit against police, govt

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A High Court has struck out a false imprisonment suit filed by a Kelantan prince against the police and government due to his absence in court.

Justice Nor Bee Ariffin allowed an application by Senior Federal Counsel Azizan Md Arshad in chambers for the suit to be struck out.

She ordered the prince to pay costs of RM5,000 (S$1,939) and gave the liberty to the prince, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Petra, to file the suit afresh.

Speaking to reporters here, Azizan said the court had on Sept 17 allowed the prince's then lawyer Nizam Bashir to withdraw from being his counsel.

"The plaintiff (prince) did not turn up in court. There is no new lawyer acting for him. The court has no information over this matter," he said.

Senior Federal Counsel Andi Razalijaya A. Dadi, who appeared for both parties, said that the court's order over Nizam's withdrawal to act for the prince was already sent to him.

Tengku Muhammad Fakhry sued the parties over false imprisonment in 2010 as he and several others were on their way to send his father to the airport to get medical treatment in Singapore.

In his suit filed on May 3 last year, the prince sought for assault and battery, negligence, misfeasance of public office and breach of his fundamental rights.

He wants a court order that the government is liable for breach of statutory duty due to the action of the policemen against him.

In his claim for damages, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry, 36, said he was in a car on May 4, 2010 when the then Kelantan Ruler Sultan Ismail Petra left Istana Mahkota Kubang Kerian for the airport.

He said he was in front of his father's car when they were blocked by 30 to 40 individuals; most of them wore masks and were armed.

He said he was shocked and fearful for himself and his family when the policemen shouted at them and asked them to get out of their cars and surrender.

He said his car was then driven in a dangerous manner by one of the masked men and taken to the Kota Baru police contingent.

He said his three cell phones were seized and his personal particulars were recorded and photographs taken while he was kept in a room where he felt like a "prisoner".

He was later asked to follow them to Istana Mahkota where he was also ordered to surrender his weapon to the police.

The prince said he suffered depression, mood disorders, anxiety, nervousness and nightmares due to the incident.

The prince named former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan, then Kelantan police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi, his then deputy Datuk Amir Hamzah Ibrahim, the government and 11 others as defendants.

In the defence statement dated July 12, last year the police officers said they had never pointed firearms, shouted or directed the prince to surrender.

The police and the government said that the prince had no right to claim for damages as they have only conducted their duties as allowed under the Police Act 1967.

They said the then Ruler Sultan Ismail Petra was brought to the royal ward at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan upon receiving a royal decree dated May 3, 2010.