“There is no such thing as retracting a police report once it has been made. Either the media was incorrect with its reporting or Khalil himself erred in judgment. A police report constitutes documentary evidence of an action pursuant to law taken by an individual for reasons he (or she) feels are necessary”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
I read with interest the case of a female student in Johor Bahru whose mother lodged a police report after a teacher caned her daughter, leaving red marks on her body. According to NST Online, the mother has since retracted the report, with Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader confirming that the retraction was made. Interestingly, Khalil noted that the police would go ahead with investigations under Section 324 of the Penal Code for deliberately causing injury.
The whole thing strikes me as weird.
In the first place, there is no such thing as retracting a police report once it has been made. Either the media was incorrect with its reporting or Khalil himself erred in judgment. A police report constitutes documentary evidence of an action pursuant to law taken by an individual for reasons he (or she) feels are necessary.
The correct thing for Khalil to have done would have been to tell the student’s mother to make a written application so that no action is taken against the report. The onus would then be on the Public Prosecutor to allow or reject the application based on facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Assuming that the media was correct with its reporting, Khalil has gone one step above the law by placing the individual in a new predicament.
How, you ask?
Well, let’s assume that the student’s mother is suddenly aggrieved in ways related to the report she retracted. Under the circumstances, Khalil can now be held accountable for allowing the retraction as it denied the Public Prosecutor the right to study the case. Had the Public Prosecutor done so, he (or she) could have avoided the mother further anguish or prevented a serious crime from occurring.
Likewise, if the student’s mother were to suddenly lodge another report related to the one she retracted, neither she nor Khalil would have legal documentation to prove that the matter was previously addressed. The retraction amounts to Khalil telling the mother that he did not see the neeed to conduct an investigation as he did not feel she was in any sort of predicament. But that is for the Public Prosecutor to decide, not Khalil.
It makes no sense now for him to allow an investigation as he has nothing to fall back on. An investigation would need to hinge on a complaint lodged and the information provided by a complainant. Not only did his act of retracting the report mean a complaint was never lodged, unless he himself witnessed the teacher caning the student, he no longer has any business posing questions to the teacher or even the student’s mother.
I think the whole thing has turned into a legal mess which Khalil now must resolve. The purpose of this article is not to belittle or ridicule him, but to help him rectify the situation by pointing out the oversight to him.