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MH370 Kin On A Fishing Expedition, Court Told

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KUALA LUMPU: The Government and two others have objected to the bid by 76 next-of-kin of the passengers of MH370 to obtain documents over the disappearance of the flight.

Describing it as a “fishing expedition”, Senior Federal Counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching, who acted for the Government, the director-general of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), argued that the contention that the family members lack information on the incident is baseless and without merit.

“There are ample facts available to them as the Transport Ministry has since released the Safety Investigation Report for MH370, which is a comprehensive report pertaining to the flight,” she submitted in asking the court to dismiss the discovery application by the next-of-kin in the biggest civil proceedings filed here.

Loke argued that the contention that the plaintiffs have reason to believe that Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS), DCA, RMAF and the Government

may dispose, conceal or destroy the documents is also baseless.

“The plaintiffs did not give any evidence to support their serious allegation,” she said.

Loke also submitted that the plaintiffs had failed to show how the documents, which she described as too general, extensive and numerous, can be relevant to the issues before the court.

“This generality of the documents described is akin to the plaintiffs using the discovery process as a fishing expedition,” she said.

Among others, Loke argued that it is also a premature bid because the families should first seek an order for general discovery of documents.

“If the plaintiffs are successful in an order for general discovery, they will be required to make a list of documents (for specific discovery),” she said.

Lead counsel Saranjit Singh, who represented MAS, objected on the grounds that the documents being sought are not relevant to the matter before the court.

In their suit, the plaintiffs said the DCA director-general had on Jan 29 last year declared MH370’s disappearance to be an accident and that all 239 passengers and crew on board were presumed to have lost their lives.

Their lead counsel Tommy Thomas argued that the documents being sought, among others, are on the background and sequence of events in the incident and the search operation, which are relevant and critical evidence for the trial.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Azizul Azmin Adnan set Sept 28 to decide on the application for documents.

The plantiffs are seeking for 37 items, including notes, memoranda, reports by investigators who took part in the investigations for the defendants in connection with the disappearance of Flight MH370.

They are also applying for a copy of the pilots’ licences, logbooks, airman’s files and medical files for the pilots of MH370.

The plaintiffs – 66 Chinese nationals, eight Indians and two Americans – are family members of 32 passengers of MH370.

In the statement of claim dated March 3, they are claiming for negligence, breach of contract, breach of statutory duty and breach of the Montreal Convention against MAS.

They are also seeking claims over conspiracy, fraud, breach of statutory duties and misfeasance of public office by the government agencies.

MH370 disappeared while on its flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing on March 8, 2014.


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