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Bedridden worker testifies via Zoom from Bangladesh

Bedridden worker testifies via Zoom from Bangladesh

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 29 Mar 2021
Author: K.C. Vijayan

The court also allowed the man's brother to be in the room with him to help him refer to bundles of documents as he testified.

In an exceptional stretch of the reach of online proceedings, a bedridden former construction worker suing his former employers and two others for alleged negligence testified in the Singapore High Court via Zoom from his home in Bangladesh.

The court also allowed the man's brother to be in the room with him to help him refer to bundles of documents as he testified.

Mr Janaed, 44, who goes by one name, was left quadriplegic after falling 3m while at work at Westgate Tower in Jurong, in November 2018.

He is represented by Hoh Law Corporation lawyers N. Srinivasan and Phoebe Wong.

He is suing four parties for alleged negligence and other breach of duty claims: his formal employer Newtec Engineering; STA Rita Engineering, which had engaged him for work at Westgate Tower; Zoe International, which had sub-contracted part or all of its work to STA Rita Engineering; and the management corporation responsible for the building.

Over two days last month and on March 2, Mr Janaed, who had a Bengali translator, testified and was cross-examined in court via Zoom.

Newtec failed to show up for the hearings, while the other three defendants are contesting the claims.

Mr Janaed testified in intervals of up to 30 minutes, interspersed with breaks of at least 15 minutes.

Mr Srinivasan said: "At times, his heartbeat and blood pressure would rise and his hands and legs would curl up involuntarily."

Mr Janaed's brother would then alert the court, which would adjourn until he was able to resume.

Hearings for the trial to determine liability ended on March 5.

Further submissions to the court are expected, and after the judge decides if there is liability and in what portion, if any, the case will then proceed to the second stage, which is to assess the quantum payable.

Mr Janaed spent 91 days in National University Hospital and 152 days in Alexandra Hospital after his accident. His medical bills came up to $296,000, which Newtec defaulted on paying.

Both hospitals sued him as well as Newtec for the money, but the National University Health Services Group, which runs both hospitals, said last year it will not seek repayment from Mr Janaed.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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