Thursday, 6 January 2011

The long and winding road to the truth on how Beng Hock died

It seemed inevitable that the open verdict, not suicide not murder at the end of the inquest on the death of Teoh Beng Hock have stirred more controversy. Can't blame the public for not wanting to let go of the inquest though, poor Beng Hock died after falling from a height for God sake, he was not found dead on his bed at home. No body came home a winner or a loser after the inquest.

Apparently the DAP lawyers representing the late Beng Hock's family will challenge the verdict in the High Court:

Teoh family to challenge inquest verdict

SHAH ALAM, Jan 5 – Lawyers for Teoh Beng Hock’s family and the Selangor government said today they were dissastisfied with the coroner’s open verdict and will challenge it in the High Court here.

Father-and-son legal team for the Teohs, Karpal and Gobind Singh, say they will challenge the open verdict at the Shah Alam High Court. – Picture by Choo Choy May. Karpal Singh and his son, Gobind Singh Deo, who are representing the Teohs, said they would be filing a motion to revise the verdict “as soon as possible” but did not give a date. Read more here.

I have been following the inquest from day 1, I must say despite the controversies the Coroner En. Azmil Muntapha Abas has done a splendid job conducting the inquest. His verdict are based on guidelines set for an inquest so maybe the standard of admissibility will not be as stringent as in the High Court, I am guessing here.

So I hope the High Court will hear the DAP Lawyers/Beng Hock family challenge of the open verdict. I believe the High Court will put more heavier weight on the forensic findings of the first autopsy by Dr.Khairul Azman and Dr. Prashant and the findings of the second autopsy done by Dr.Shahidan witnessed by a very experienced forensic specialist Prof. Peter Vanezis and the Thai expert Dr Porntip.

Summary of the autopsy reports:

1. Dr. Khairul Azman Hj Ibrahim – “in my opinion, he just climb up and jumped.

2. Dr. Prashant Naresh Sambikar – memberi 9 alasan kematian TBH disebabkan bunuh diri:

i. Punca kematian adalah suicidal or self inflicted death;

ii. Kecederaan yang dialami simati konsisten dengan akibat jatuh dari tempat tinggi;

iii. Kesan pada tapak kasut simati konsisten dengan keadaan di mana seseorang duduk atau bertinggung di atas tingkap;

iv. Tiada tanda-tanda penderaan atau mempertahankan diri sebelum jatuh;

v. Laporan kimia tidak menunjukkan bahawa simati dipengaruhi alkohol, dadah atau diracuni;

vi. Simati masih sedar semasa jatuh di aras 5 dan beliau mendarat dengan kakinya terlebih dahulu;

vii. Kecedaraan yang dialami dikedua-dua tangannya juga menunjukkan bahawa simati dalam keadaan sedar dan cuba mengurangkan impak (attempt to break his fall);

viii. Tiada tanda-tanda kecederaan pada lidah atau tergigit lidah;

ix. Kecederaan di leher dan dubur simati adalah kesan jatuh dari tempat tinggi dan bukan diakibatkan oleh perbuatan orang lain terhadap simati;

3. Dr. Shahidan bin Md Noor summarised – “the second examination performed showed that the deceased sustained multiple injuries consistent with that of a fall from a certain height,there were also injuries to the neck which most likely formed or produced by the impact of fall. The pattern and severity of them were in keeping with the incident or event”.

4. Professor Dr. Peter Vanezis in his report summarised that None of the injuries show that he was killed by any other means and then thrown out of the window from the 14th floor… There is no evidence that the deceased’s neck had been compressed as in strangulation, prior to death. The bruising of the neck is part of the overall pattern of injury from the fall.” 
Links here and here.

The above are just summaries from voluminous reports and testimonies that will be submitted to the High Court for their action and the Forensic Doctors/Specialists will probably be called back to the witness box and re-examined. Their evidence remains to be the key to find out how Beng Hock died. The High Court Judge will decide finally, but as a layman I think it is likely suicide.

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