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Court Allows Family To Produce MH370 Flight Recordings In Suit

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KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has granted an application by the next-of-kin of three passengers of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 to produce documents and audio recordings to support their trial.

The documents and recordings contained communication between the five defendants and MH370 before its departure on March 8, 2014.

Justice Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab made the order after meeting parties in chambers on Wednesday.

The plaintiffs’ counsel Sangeet Kaur Deo told reporters later that Justice Mohd Zaki allowed their application for discovery of the documents, videos and audio recordings which they filed on Dec 23, last year.

“Today, Justice Mohd Zaki allowed our application after he found that all the documents and recordings are relevant and necessary to be produced for fair trial,” she said.

Sangeet said the court also granted a stay against the decision and fixed July 14 for the next case management.

MAS’ counsel Saranjit Singh said they would file an appeal against the order.

The plaintiffs filed the suit on Aug 28, 2015 against the five defendants to seek damages over the missing passengers Tan Ah Meng, 46, his wife Chuang Hsiu Ling @ Cindy Chuang, 45, both directors of a construction and engineering company, and their eldest son Tan Wei Chew, 19.

The suit was filed by the couple’s children, Tan Wei Hong, 16, and Tan Wei Jie, 14, the parents of Ah Meng, Tan Hun Khong, 85, and Lai Chew Lai, 83, and the mother of Hsiu Ling, Chuang Hung Chien, 76.

In the suit, Malaysia Airlines System Bhd (MASB), Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB), the Government, the director-general of the Malaysian Civil Aviation Department (DCA) and the chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) were named as defendants.

However, the court allowed an application by the Government, DCA director-general and the chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) to strike out the suit against them on March 30, this year. This means they were no longer parties in the suit due to the rulings.

In their application for discovery of documents filed on Dec 23, Wei Hong, Wei Jie, Hun Khong, Chew Lai and Hung Chien have requested, among others, that all voice recordings and transcripts on the communication and/or attempted communication between MASB and Flight MH370 before departure from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 12.42am (Malaysia time) on March 8.

They applied for all transcripts, communication messages, audio recording including “Air Ground Communication Recording” and “Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System” logs either in the form of audio or data sent or received between the flight and MASB before the departure and after the flight could not be contacted at 9.15am.

The plaintiffs also requested for all documents pertaining to Standard Operating Procedure of MASB to track its flights from the moment each flight departed until it arrived its destination.

In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs held that MAS had breached its contract when it failed to ensure the airliner was in a good condition which resulted in the passengers and jetliner becoming untraceable.

They further claimed that due to the negligence of the defendants, the two children suddenly became orphaned and also lost their eldest brother and this had caused them to suffer trauma and loss including financial support and affection.

The plaintiffs also claimed that when contact with the airliner was lost, the DCA failed to take the appropriate action to regain contact or launch a search operation and that its disappearance could have been prevented if the RMAF had monitored its radars in real time and taken all needed action when the incident happened.

As such, they demanded that the defendants make a public apology to the plaintiffs and pay general damages, damages for loss of financial support, aggravated and exemplary damages, costs, interests and other relief deemed fit by the court.

On Jan 29, last year, DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman in representing the government of Malaysia announced that MH370 was declared as an accident under international aviation laws and that all 239 passengers and crew on board were deemed dead.

The Boeing 777-200ER jetliner went missing while on a flight from the KL International Airport on March 8, 2014.

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