SEREMBAN: The Coroner's Court has fixed Aug 4 for case management into the death of Irish schoolgirl Nora Anne Quoirin (pic) and ordered the conducting officer of the inquest to "narrow down" the number of witnesses after the latter presented a list of 589 names.
Coroner Junaidah Mohd Isa told conducting officer Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad that he should explain the role of each witness who was involved in the 10-day search for the 15-year-old Nora Anne.
“It is my hope that the conducting officer can assist the court to determine the role played by each witness in the 10-day search and rescue operation.
"This is important as the Coroner needs to know which witness played a primary role.
"As such, the conducting officer should scrutinise the list of witnesses and identify how each was involved in looking for the missing girl so we can finalise who needs to be called in to testify," Junaidah said.
She added that that if a big group had been involved in any of the operations, there was no need to call every member.
Muhamad told the coroner his team had presented the names of 589 potential witnesses as they wanted to be as transparent as possible.
"We have villagers, personnel from government agencies, non-governmental organisations, professional bodies, telcos and others who helped search for the girl.
"Our intention is to assist the coroner to achieve the purpose of the inquest," he said, adding that he was prepared to remove names of witnesses the court felt were not needed.
Nora Anne, who suffered from learning difficulties, disappeared from a resort in Pantai Hill near here on Aug 3 last year, a day after her family arrived on holiday.
Her unclothed body was found 10 days later next to a stream in a deep ravine near the resort, where the family was staying.
Police had ruled out foul play in her death.
An autopsy on her remains revealed that she had died from internal bleeding, probably caused by prolonged hunger and stress.
She had also suffered intestinal damage, and died two or three days before her body was found.
However, her family believes there was a criminal element to her disappearance as she was a special needs child and they claimed she had never before left them voluntarily.
Meanwhile lawyer Sankara N. Nair, who is representing the family, later told reporters it was common to have many potential witnesses in an inquest.
"We are glad that the conducting officer is being very transparent.
"But like the Coroner said, the conducting officer can probably narrow down the numbers as there are usually many people involved in a search group and not all may have to be called in," he said.
Sankara was also asked if the family had conducted a second post-mortem on Nora Anne’s remains.
"They have done it in the United Kingdom but it will be up to them to tender it to the Coroner," he said.
Sankara had earlier told the Coroner that the family of the deceased had requested if the proceedings could be held via video-conferencing and as much possible as in English.
"The family has requested for this as they are abroad. It can also be a costly affair for them to be here as the inquest can take time," he said.
Nora Anne’s family has also filed a separate suit against the resort operator, claiming negligence in her death.
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