High Court orders inquest

THE High Court in Suva has ordered that a magistrate hold an inquest into the cause of and the circumstances connected with the death of 27-year-old Priya Kumar.

This was after a motion was filed in the High Court’s civil jurisdiction by the Attorney-General’s chambers seeking for the order to be made.

On November 21, 2015, the victim was rushed to Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva because of injuries suffered caused by burns.

She later died on December 12, 2015.

The court heard that a post-mortem examination was conducted and the report concluded that the cause of death was 42 per cent total body surface area of second-degree burns.

Justice Vishwa Datt Sharma informed the court that as part of its investigations, the Fiji Police Force recorded the statement of Pradeep Kumar, who was the de facto partner of the victim.

The court heard that the deceased had poured kerosene over her body and lit herself on fire.

Justice Sharma said the deceased’s de facto partner then tore off her clothes and wrapped a blanket around her before taking her to the hospital.

The court also heard that in the process, Mr Kumar’s right hand and arm also got burnt.

Justice Sharma said the magistrate, upon the perusal of the inquest file, opined that there was nothing suspicious about the death and that there was no need for an inquest as he was satisfied with the reports and statement as to the cause of death.

He said the inquest file upon return with the magistrate’s endorsed decision, was further reviewed by the Attorney-General and minister responsible for justice, and was of the opinion that this case necessitated an inquest as some factors needed to be taken into consideration.

One of the factors included there was no mention or any reasons provided by Mr Kumar as to why the deceased committed suicide.

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