Murder accused fails in final appeal over RM1.5mil ‘motor accident’ claim

PUTRAJAYA: A murder accused had her final appeal in a negligence suit dismissed following a discovery that a road accident had been staged as part of a fraudulent claim.

Justice Azizah Nawawi, who led a three-member Court of Appeal bench which dismissed the appeal of G Angela Dewi, said there was no appealable error that warranted intervention.

“There are also concurrent findings of facts that the plaintiff (Angela) had failed to establish her case against the defendants,” she said in a ruling delivered at the end of proceedings which were conducted online.

The bench, which included justices M Nantha Balan and Nazlan Ghazali, also upheld an order requiring Angela to return about RM750,000 to the Malaysian Motor Insurance Pool, the insurer of a car belonging to Angela’s brother-in-law, R Subramaniam.

In a suit filed in 2016, Angela, 47, who is facing trial for the alleged murder of her blind husband more than two years ago, claimed that K Sivarajah rammed the car into her at a car park in Kajang in May 2013, resulting in her paralysis from the waist down.

Angela, who was running a scrap metal business in Kajang, named the insurance company, Subramaniam and Sivarajah, who is her former employee, as defendants.

In 2018, a sessions court in Bangi ordered the defendants to pay about RM1.5 million in damages, with half the sum awarded to Angela and the remainder to be held in the client’s account of legal firm Messrs G Dorai & Co.

Suspecting it to be a fraudulent claim, the insurer conducted its own investigation which revealed that Sivarajah did not drive the car and was not responsible for the accident.

Lawyer, Silva Velu, who represented Sivarajah, told the judges that his client had retracted his first report in which he claimed to be the driver.

“He also pleaded guilty and was fined RM500 for making a false report,” added Silva.

He said that on Oct 9, 2019, a High Court set aside the sessions court award and ordered a retrial of the case.

The legal firm returned its portion of the award to the insurer, but Angela failed to pay up.

Angela’s suit was dismissed after a second trial in the sessions court on Sept 30, 2020. The court also allowed the insurer’s counterclaim for a refund of the RM750,00 previously paid to her.

The decision was affirmed by the High Court on March 16, 2021.

In the Court of Appeal today, counsel M Manoharan, who appeared for Angela, submitted that the sessions court judge failed to provide detailed grounds for dismissing the suit.

Silva, citing the expert testimony of one Dr Dhillon at the trial, submitted that Angela’s injuries were pre-existing conditions and not from the accident.

“These injuries were the result of degenerative changes to Angela’s spine,” said Silva, quoting from the testimony of Dhillon.

He also said another doctor had, during cross-examination, admitted to changing his clinical notes.

“This doctor first stated that a rod had fallen on Angela’s neck.

“He cancelled that and replaced it with a statement that it was caused by a motor vehicle accident,” said Silva, adding the trial court was correct to conclude that the doctor had distorted the truth.

Lawyer JS Naicker, who represented the insurer, said the doctor who altered his notes was unable to give a cogent explanation for his actions.

After the oral judgment was delivered, Naicker urged the bench to provide its written grounds for the guidance of the lower courts and lawyers.

Meanwhile, the trial of Angela, who is jointly charged with her brother, Vijaya, for the murder of her husband, R Devarajoo, will begin on Feb 27 at the Shah Alam High Court.

The crime is alleged to have taken place at Kampung Baru Sungai Chua in Kajang on Oct 1, 2020.

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