Coroner declares open verdict on death of RMN cadet officer

IPOH – The Coroner’s Court today declared an open verdict regarding the inquest into the cause of death of a Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) cadet officer J. Soosaimanicckam.

Coroner Ainul Shahrin Mohamad ruled that the cause of death of  Soosaimanicckam, who died during his training at KD Sultan Idris, Lumut naval base on May 19, 2018, is established as pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs).

Ainul said the deceased reportedly defecated while taking a shower before losing consciousness and was rushed to Lumut Military Hospital (HAT) where he was subsequently pronounced dead.

The decision was made in the presence of the deceased’s family members namely his father, S. Joseph, 70, his brother, Charles Joseph, 37, and his cousin Vincent Lourders, 56, and the family’s lawyers, Zaid Malek and Mahajoth Singh.

Outside the court, Zaid said they would appeal to the Ipoh High Court after consulting the family members.

The lawyer said there was a lot of evidence and unanswered questions, including what caused the ‘pulmonary oedema’ given as the cause of death.

“The deceased entered the RMN training as a healthy person, passed the health test, and was eligible to undergo the training, but one week after the training, he died.

“He was also not allowed to be treated early. Had he been treated early, he could have been saved,” Zaid said.

Meanwhile, the deceased’s father, Joseph, claimed that the head of the forensic medicine department of Seri Manjung Hospital, Dr S Saravanan, who conducted the post-mortem and also appeared as a witness at the inquest, was not an expert and not qualified to determine the cause of death.

On 19 May 2018, the death of Soosaimanicckam, who was 27 years old at the time, was confirmed at Lumut Army Hospital.

The following day (May 20), RMN in a statement said the Graduate Cadet Officer suffered chest pain and shortness of breath at his hostel after undergoing his daily training and was sent to the hospital for treatment.

The victim was said to have been given respiratory support and treatment by the doctor on duty. However, he was pronounced dead at 1.45 pm.

The deceased reported to the naval base to undergo officer qualification training on May 12, 2018.

The then Manjung District Police chief ACP Muhammad Hanif Othman said that the forensic medical report had ruled out foul play in the officer cadet’s death and that he died of fluid in the lungs.

The case was classified as sudden death. – Bernama