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GEORGE TOWN, June 19 — Families of the five suspects accused of beating teenager T. Nhaveen to death are said to be unable to find legal representation.
A brother of one of the suspects said none of the five families were successful in hiring defence counsels as the legal fraternity had practically abandoned them.
The five suspects are expected to be charged for murder today where the mandatory punishment is death.
The brother suspects that public sentiment had gone against them, influencing professionals such as lawyers and politicians.
Former counsel V. Parthiban stood in for them during the remand process, and has since declared that he would no longer represent them because there were no new instructions from them.
“We have no choice as it is our loved ones who are accused. As responsible family members, we need to be there for them in their time of need. We are terrified and living in fear.”
The brother claimed he had also received threatening calls after his identity was revealed to certain quarters.
He added that the entire neighbourhood in Gelugor seemed to have forsaken them, and it was sad that innuendo and presumption had come to influence society as a whole.
There is a “herd mentality” in this case, the brother said, urging people to remain calm and to allow justice to take its course.
He said that he was disappointed that the common belief where a “man was innocent until proven guilty,” was not observed.
Nhaveen and his friend T. Previnn, aged 19, were beaten up at Jalan Kaki Bukit in Gelugor last Friday as they went out for supper.
The five suspects — two 16 years old, one aged 18 and two others, 19 — allegedly brought Nhaveen to a nearby field where he was beaten repeatedly.
Previnn, who managed to escape after taking a few blows, told journalists that they used their fists, crash helmets and shoes to attack Nhaveen and him.
A brother of the suspect, was later summoned to the scene and he took Nhaveen to the Penang Hospital for treatment.
However, Nhaveen apparently lapsed into a coma, and never recovered from his injuries. He died on Thursday.
The cause of death was listed as trauma to the brain.
The hashtag “#justicefornhaveen” has gone viral on social media after it was first used on Friday.
Meanwhile, Previnn said he had given more statements to the police, who had urged him to refrain from speaking to the public about it until the case went to court.