|Chelliah finally wins it|
|Friday, 10 April 2009 07:31am|
©Malay Mail (Used by permission)
By Reena Raj
HE may have won the case, and life will go on. But for David Chelliah, what irked him most was the lack of an apology over an accident which nearly cost him his life.
On Aug 16, 2002, the Bernama journalist was walking in front of Concorde Hotel along Jalan Sultan Ismail when a safety wheel from a KL Monorail train fell on his head.
After seven years of pain and suffering caused by the incident, the High Court yesterday ruled that the monorail operator was liable for the incident in the RM5 million negligence suit.
The court ruled that Chelliah, 47, had established a prima facie case of negligence against the defendants, Monorail Malaysia Technology (MMT) and KL Monorail Systems Sdn Bhd (KLMS). Met outside the court yesterday, Chelliah said he was relieved that the legal battle, which began in 2003, is finally over.
“I can move on with my life without any worries now. I don't want to be reminded of the pain and suffering. My medical and psychological injuries have severely impaired my quality of life,” he said.
Looking calm and relaxed, he also expressed disappointment that the case was prolonged by the defendants who chose to contest liability despite obvious fault on their part.
“I've neither received any apology nor did anyone show any remorse over the incident,” he said. Chelliah however was pleased with the judgment and hoped that the hearing of assessment of damages would be resolved soon.
“I hope this decision will ensure that similar incidents will never happen again. The safety of the public must be paramount whenever the authorities allow corporations to undertake such large-scale projects in the city,” he said.
In his 17-page ruling, Judicial Commissioner Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal said that at the time of the incident, the safety wheel was under the sole control of the defendants. The defendants, he said, had also failed to produce credible evidence to show that the incident occurred without their negligence.
But he found the Director- General of Railway Department (DGR) not liable for the incident as the DGR had undertaken his duties and functions seriously. The court ordered that the damages be assessed by the High Court Senior Assistant Registrar (SAR).
The SAR has fixed May 20 for case management. Counsel Steven Thiru and Brian Jit Singh represented Chelliah, while counsel T. Tharumarajah represented the MMT and KLMS. Senior Federal counsel Lailawati Ali acted for the DGR.
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