Officer sat on Naval cadet, repeatedly slapped him a day before death, says witness

KUALA LUMPUR: In Friday's testimony before the Sessions Court, a former Royal Malaysian Navy cadet officer revealed that he observed a lieutenant sitting on J. Soosaimanicckam's stomach and repeatedly slapping him one day before the latter's death.

Anas Hakimi Mat, 31, who is now a lawyer, stated that the officer did so during cadet training on May 18, 2018.

The incident took place on Friday, a day before the 27-year-old Soosaimanicckam's demise on May 19, 2018.

Anas, the plaintiff’s fourth witness, recalled the event saying that everyone was present and witnessed the victim being struck while they were in a 'push-up' position. "

"Major Rahim, another officer, arrived at the scene and diffused the situation," he said during chief examination by lawyer Zaid Malek, representing S. Joseph as the plaintiff in his lawsuit against the government, the Defence Minister, and 13 others.

According to Anas, the deceased was frequently isolated from other trainees as he repeatedly requested exemption from training due to medical reasons.

During cross-examination by Federal Counsel Nur Ezdiani Roleb, Anas disagreed with the notion that the late J. Soosaimanicckam was isolated and subjected to harsh treatment to instill discipline and a fighting spirit for the country.

Anas described the deceased as a physically imposing individual who occasionally exhibited disciplinary issues.

Earlier in the trial, the court heard testimonies of the victim's two brothers, J. Charles, 38, and J. Calvin, 36, who served as the plaintiff’s second and third witnesses.

In the lawsuit filed on May 19, 2021, the victim's family alleged negligence on the part of the defendants for failing to provide emergency treatment when the victim collapsed on the day of the incident, and further claimed negligence in monitoring his well-being and health during training sessions.

The plaintiff is seeking general damages, aggravated damages, exemplary damages, and other relief deemed appropriate by the court.

Soosaimanicckam, a Graduate Cadet Officer, was pronounced dead at the Armed Forces Hospital in Lumut.

Last year, the Ipoh Coroner's Court delivered an open verdict during the inquest into the cadet officer's death to ascertain the cause.

Coroner Ainul Shahrin Mohamad determined that the cause of Soosaimanicckam's death, which occurred during cadet training at KD Sultan Idris, was due to pulmonary edema.

The trial, presided over by Judge Idah Ismail, will resume on April 17. - Bernama

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