Saturday, April 27

I had treated seven victims – Doctor

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KOTA KINABALU: A doctor told the Sessions Court here yesterday that she had treated seven victims who were involved in the catamaran tragedy last year.

Zara Octavia Markos, 36, who testified before  judge Noor Hafizah Mohd Salim, said that she was the doctor on call  at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) for the plastic and reconstructive surgery unit when the victims were brought to the QEH Emergency Department on January 31, 2017.

She explained that the victims, three women and four men from China, arrived at the hospital looking exhausted and in pain due to the blistered skin.

However, the general examination conducted on the victims for vital signs and systemic infection was normal, she explained.

She added that the examination included injury evaluation and systemic as well as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal while treatments involved cleaning blistered wounds, applying collagen dressing and giving oral pain relief tablets.

To another question by deputy public prosecutor Nartiah M. Sambathan, Zara elaborated that the examination results showed that some of the victims had a second degree burns on their face, neck and some on their faces and arms while some only on their arms.

She also said that other body parts of the victims sustained first degree burns.

In reply to another question by Nartiah, she explained that the blisters were caused by sunlight exposure for a long and continuous period of time.

She also told the court that the victims had suffered the injuries since one or two days before the examination.

Zara, who is a doctor at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia since June 1, 2017, said that all the victims were admitted into the QEH neurosurgery ward and stayed in the ward between two and 10 days before being discharged.

Zara was the 27th prosecution witness in the case of three persons who face up to 10 charges involving the catamaran which sank on its way to Pulau Mengalum in January.

Sharezza Salian, 25, who was the skipper, Leong Vin Jee, 44, the operation manager of Golden Sailing travel company, and Chung Ket Siew @ Chung Siaw Ping, 64, who was the owner of Golden Sailing travel company, claimed trial to the charges that were read to them on March 16.

They were charged separately with causing hurt to 20 passengers, all from China aged between 17 and 50, by taking the boat to sea so negligently so as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others.

The alleged offence, framed under Section 337 of the Penal Code, carries a jail term of up to six months or a maximum fine of RM1,000, or both, upon conviction.

Sharezza, Leong and Chung were also alleged to have negligently caused the death of four China nationals, including two women, aged 27 and 49, but not amounting to culpable homicide.

The charges were framed under Section 304A of the Penal Code, which provides for a jail term of up to two years, or a fine, or to both, on conviction.

Sharezza and Leong also face two joint charges under the Ports and Harbours Regulations 2008 for failure to keep on the passenger boat with the appropriate safety equipment at all times and for embarking the passengers at Kampung Tanjung Aru Lama Jetty here, which was not a designated landing point.

The alleged offences were framed under Rule 16 of the Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small Ships) Regulations 2008 and Rule 13 of the Ports and Harbours (Ports, Harbours and Dues) Regulations 2008, respectively.

The indictment carries a maximum fine of RM500,000 or a jail term of up to two years or both, on conviction.

Meanwhile, Leong and his mother, Chung, were jointly accused of failing to keep the boat licence on the passenger boat at all times, which was charged under Rule 9 of the Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small Ships) Regulations 2008.

Chung was also alleged to have employed Sharezza as the skipper of the boat without altering and reporting the particulars of the skipper to the nearest licensing authority, an offence framed under Rule 13 of the Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small Ships) Regulations 2008.

All of the alleged offences were committed at Kampung Tanjung Aru Lama Jetty, at a travel company in Asia City and in the waters off the coast of Mengalum Island here between 9.15am and 11am on January 28.

Counsel Elffie Johnny defended Leong and Chung while Sharezza is defended by counsel Benazir Japiril Bandaran from the National Legal Aid Foundation (NLAF).