Written by Administrator
Tuesday, 21 December 2010 06:12
AsiaViews, Edition: 46/III/Dec/2006
Category: LEGAL WATCH
The past medical records of Mdm Amutha Valli, the woman at the centre of an alleged botched exorcism, will be released to defence lawyers representing the two priests and seven church helpers accused of carrying out the religious ritual at the Novena Church two years ago.
This "understanding" was reached at the High Court yesterday between the lawyer for Madam Valli and the lawyer representing one of the two priests ? provided the medical records are "relevant to the civil suit".
Mdm Valli is claiming about $1 million in medical expenses and damages in the civil suit she filed against the church, the two priests and seven church helpers.
Any dispute over the relevance of particular medical records will be heard by the High Court registrar who will rule on whether to release them to the defence lawyers.
Mr RS Bajwa, who is representing Mdm Valli, told Today that the trial could start next month.
He said his client wanted to "get the whole ordeal over with as quickly as she can". He added: "Each time I try to jog her memory about that day, she breaks down."
Nevertheless, he said, he was confident that Mdm Valli will hold herself together during trial.
A pre-trial conference has been set for Dec 27.
50-year-old Mdm Amutha Valli is suing Novena Church, two of its priests and seven helpers for what she claims to be severe side effects of a botched exorcism on Aug 10, 2004.
The former national walker claims that she had fainted in the Thomson Road church and two priests ? Father Jacob Ong and Father Simon Tan ? performed a 2-1/2 hour long exorcism on her, with the help of seven others. Mdm Valli claims she was locked up against her will, "assaulted, injured and abused" during the ritual.
The incident has left her so traumatised that she now needs 24-hour care. Her medical expenses, amounting to more than $70,000, plus the cost of hiring a maid to look after her, have wiped out most of her family's savings and a large chunk of her husband's CPF savings.
She is seeking $1 million in damages in a civil suit against the 10 defendants.
The two priests and seven church helpers have denied all the allegations against them.
They say it was not an exorcism but a prayer session requested for by Mdm Valli and her family. One priest said it was Mdm Valli's daughter who had said her mother was "possessed and suicidal".
He asked the family to follow him into a room in the church for the prayers. Once inside, Mdm Valli turned violent and had to be "physically restrained" by her own family.
The defendants denied locking her up, abusing her or injuring her.
They also claimed Mdm Valli's family members were not "locked out" of the room but when Mdm Valli continued to be abusive, they were asked to wait outside, where they could see what was happening inside through the door's glass window.
By: Leong Wee Keat
Today 07 December 2006
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 December 2010 06:12 )