PUTRAJAYA, Sept 18 — A 22-year-old man who lost the head of his penis in a botched circumcision 13 years ago was only awarded RM123,556 in damages compared to the RM3.1 million he had previously won in his lawsuit against the Malaysian government and four other individuals.
The unanimous decision was made by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal chaired by Judge Datuk Ravintharan Paramaguru, after finding that the damages amounting to RM3.1 million previously awarded by the High Court was too high.
“The general damages of RM2 million obtained by the respondent (young man) are too high and not supported by any documentation. Therefore the general damages of RM2 million are reduced to RM100,000; the special damages are reduced from RM108,356 to RM23,556.
“The court also set aside the severe and exemplary damages amounting to RM1 million awarded by the High Court because the two damages were not stated in the pleadings and there was no basis to allow the two damages. However, the costs of RM100,000 awarded by the High Court is upheld,” said Judge Ravintharan, who sat with Judges Datuk See Mee Chun and Mohamed Zaini Mazlan at today’s online proceedings (via Zoom).
Besides the government, the other four defendants are the Kuala Lipis Hospital’s medical officer and director and the Selayang Hospital’s specialist and director.
In the ruling, Judge Ravintharan said the court would not interfere with the findings made by the trial judge who found that the five defendants, who are the appellants in this case, were responsible for the delay in treatment given to the youth involved (the respondent) at the two hospitals until the surgery took place at 8.30pm on December 13, 2010.
At today’s proceedings, the five appellants were represented by Senior Federal Counsel Nurhafizza Azizan and Federal Counsel Saravanan Kuppusamy while the respondent was represented by lawyer Mohamad Zainuddin Abu Bakar.
The five appellants appealed against the decision of Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir on April 7, 2022, awarding damages amounting to RM3.1 million to the young man.
Akhtar, in his written judgment issued on May 27, 2022, said the delay by the medical staff in attending to the man’s injuries had extinguished any hope of saving his private part.
The man, who filed the suit on July 19, 2018, through his mother, claimed that the circumcision process on December 13, 2010, was not carried out according to the prescribed procedure resulting in the entire head of his penis being severed.
As a result of the permanent disability, the victim’s mother claimed that her son who was ten years old at the time of the incident had gone into a shell and found it difficult to interact with others.