Blackout at court building causes disarray






Dark outing: Chairs being placed outside the courts to keep the doors open during the blackout at the three-storey annex building in George Town.

Dark outing: Chairs being placed outside the courts to keep the doors open during the blackout at the three-storey annex building in George Town.

GEORGE TOWN: The three-storey annex building housing the High Courts and magistrate’s court here was plunged into darkness after its electric substation exploded.

Police and lawyers were seen sweating it out while waiting for the problem to be fixed.

Lawyer K. Simon Murali, who was supposed to be in court for a trial, said the case was postponed because of the blackout.

“It is really hot and I do not think there will be any cases heard today.

“I did not realise there was a blackout until I got here,” he said.

By 10am, most of the courtrooms and hallways were deserted while some lawyers were told their cases would be postponed to today.

A court interpreter who declined to be named said they heard it would take about eight hours to fix the problem.

“Cases will most likely be postponed to Tuesday. A few criminal cases may be heard,” he said when met yesterday.

Some cases were mentioned at the Traffic Court for new dates to be set, resulting in a congestion along the hallways with policemen taking handcuffed accused to the respective courtrooms.

TNB Penang head of customer service U. Ananda Rani said the substation exploded at 11.58pm on Sunday.

“We received a call that it exploded and the switchgear has been effected,” she said.

Initial investigation indicated the waterproofing of the court’s substation ceiling failed and water seeped into our equipment, she said.

Ananda Rani said the court management was repairing the water- proofing.

“A generator has been installed so that some parts of the court, inclu­ding the offices, can still function.“Work on replacing the switchgear is under way. It is not a common occurrence and we are working to get it fixed as we do not want the court to be disrupted for another day,” she said.

The annex building, which usually houses the Sessions and magistrate’s courts, made way for the High Court after the building was temporarily closed last year for restoration work due to structural defects in some sections.