The four teenagers involved in T. Nhaveen's case have been charged with murder. This comes just days after the 18-year-old bully victim passed away after succumbing to his injuries last Thursday evening.
New Straits Times reported yesterday, 19 June, that the four teenagers - two 18-year-old boys J. Ragesuthen and S. Gokulan, and two other unnamed boys aged 16 and 17 were charged at the magistrate's court in Georgetown, Penang with the murder of Nhaveen.
The teenagers will also face a separate charge of causing grievous hurt to T. Previin, Nhaveen's 19-year-old friend who was also assaulted in the same incident.
"One of the suspects will be called in as a witness for the prosecution and will be released on police bond under Section 118 of the Criminal Procedure Code. We expect to charge them in court this afternoon," explained Northeast district police chief ACP Anuar Omar, adding that the fifth suspect would be facing a charge for causing grievous hurt with dangerous weapons, as reported by Free Malaysia Today (FMT) on 19 June.
It was reported that no plea was recorded and the accused were not offered any bail either. The court has fixed 29 August for mention. This is in addition to the charge the four teenagers were slapped with at the Sessions Court under Section 326 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing grievous hurt by using dangerous weapons or means to T. Previin. Judge Irwan Suaibon set 21 August for mention.
It was said that the boys who assaulted Nhaveen grew up in the same neighbourhood as him. Also, the authorities highlighted that this is not the first time the teenagers have assaulted someone.
It was said that the boys have a history of criminal intimidation and Northeast district police chief ACP Anuar Omar described them as the "ultimate juvenile delinquents".
Malay Mail Online reported M. Vincent saying that, "We (Nhaveen's family) are certain the suspects are thugs and they behaved aggressively because they think they have a ‘godfather’ to protect them".
Also, just days after the horrific incident, a 19-year-old boy came forward, saying that the same people who bullied Nhaveen to death, assaulted and blackmailed him in early May.
With new details about the attackers coming to light, more and more people are starting to direct their frustration and anger over Nhaveen's tragic death toward the suspects' families
The bullies' families have complained that their lives have been turned upside down since the incident went viral.
"I have not bought groceries for a week now because I am afraid I will be hurt by someone," said the father of one of the suspects to Free Malaysia Today.
He expressed his concerns over the many threats and stares coming from the public which has led to him hesitating to step out of his house. The upset father also told FMT that the "trial-by-Facebook" and the messages circulating on social media are spreading false information on the case.
"Why is the media doing this to us? It is so unfair as no one has come to us to ask what we thought. Thanks to reports of ‘sodomy’ and other terrible things, all guns are pointed at us.
"Why can’t reporters ask us how we feel? Why can’t they leave it to the court to decide?" he asked distraughtly.
Another parent of one of the suspects' claimed that she has been called a "prostitute" and that she can no longer go to work due to the taunts.
"Some are saying they want to kill my son. Some people have circulated his photo and the others' on social media."
"One of the suspects who is still schooling had even people going to his school trying to dig for his personal and family details.
"The families are afraid. The boys' siblings can't go to school. Everyone is being punished even before the courts hear the case," read the report by The Malaysian Insight on 19 June.
Another mother of one of the accused who spoke to FMT said that she knew Nhaveen and was shattered when she heard the news of his brutal assault.
"You know, Nhaveen boy is like my own child. I know him very well. When he died, we were all devastated. All the media reports on this have been biased," she told FMT.
In the midst of this, the families have also not been able to hire a legal counsel to represent the boys involved in the case
On 17 June, lawyer V. Parthipan informed that he will no longer represent the four suspects as he had received no further instructions from his clients.
Following that, one of the parents of the accused lamented how the families are currently facing difficulties in hiring a lawyer to take up the case against their sons.
"We paid RM2,000 in fees. Aren’t lawyers like doctors? They have to serve all regardless of what kind of crime or illness," said the parent, as reported by FMT.
However, Malaysian Bar president George Varughese, informed today, 20 June, that the court will appoint a legal counsel to represent the teenagers charged with Nhaveen's murder.
"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," explained Varughese to Malay Mail Online today.
Meanwhile, one of the accused's brother told The Malaysian Insight that they also want the rumours about a sodomy charge related to the case to end
"We want to get justice for our family too. People will talk about this for a week or two, but for us, this will be forever. We have been ruined because of the sodomy claim.
"Who do we have? The public? Lawyers? Politicians? We sometimes think it may be better to convert and become Christians or Muslims," said the 26-year-old brother when speaking to The Malaysian Insight yesterday.
T. Nhaveen was brutally assaulted on 9 June. The incident happened when he was on his way back home after completing his night shift as a promoter at a supermarket in Bayan Lepas.
According to reports, Nhaveen and his friend Previin had stopped by at a burger shop near their home to get supper. It was there that they ran into two of their former schoolmates who started taunting the boys.
Things escalated when the bullies started bashing Nhaveen and his friend with their motorcycle helmets. Previin managed to flee the scene but Nhaveen was forcibly taken to a nearby field at Jalan Kaki Bukit where he was believed to have been tortured.
An unconscious Nhaveen was later rushed to the hospital at about 2am on Saturday, 10 June, by one of the suspects' brother. Medical reports later showed evidence of forced penetration to Nhaveen's anus, injuries on his private parts, and also burn marks on his back.
The boy slipped into coma and was soon declared as brain dead. Nhaveen passed away on Thursday, 15 June at 5.31pm. His friend Previin survived the incident but suffered injuries to his cheekbones and eyes.
What do you think about trial by media? Is it fair for the families to be subjected to such taunts and ill-treatment over an offence their family member has committed? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.