SHAH ALAM, 17 Aug 2009: The theory that a homicide had occurred in the death of Teoh Beng Hock cannot be presented because of the failure on the part of the pathologist in questioning the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers, inquest proceedings was told today.
Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, who is holding a watching brief for Teoh’s family, said the pathologist should have questioned the MACC officers to look into the possibility of homicide elements being involved in the death of the political aide to a Selangor executive councillor in July.
“I put it to you that because you (the pathologist) did not question the MACC officers, you thus did not obtain the material facts that resulted in your rejecting the possibility that a homicide had occurred,” Gobind told Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim, the 10th witness.
To this, Dr Khairul, the senior consultant of forensic medicine, Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang, pointed out: “It’s not my duty to interrogate the police.”
The proceedings became more intense when Dr Khairul was questioned by Gobind repeatedly whether he could interrogate the MACC officers, and the pathologist addressed Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas: “I’m sorry, he’s playing with words.”
Gobind later asked: “You don’t have evidence to support [the theory] a homicide had occurred because you did not question and did not conduct any investigation on the MACC officers?”, to which Dr Khairul replied, “No comment.”
The witness explained that although he did not interview the MACC officers, he did ask for details on the case from the investigating officer, and added: “In my opinion, it was sufficient to find out the story and get a picture of the situation from the investigating officer.
“I did ask the investigating officer, [and] I was told that the interrogation on the deceased was completed at about 3:30am, and he could be released, but he later slept on the sofa.
“I was also told that at about 5:00 to 5:30 am, the deceased was seen wandering in the [MACC] office,” said Dr Khairul.
He was later asked whether he had handled cases involving a deceased who had been tortured while in police custody. The question was objected to by counsel Tan Hock Chuan, on behalf of the government, on grounds that the victim in this case was not arrested and detained by the police.
Dr Khairul was then asked on the content of the victim’s stomach, and the witness explained: “There were no traces of food found in the stomach of the deceased.”
He said it showed that the last time Teoh ate was about four hours before his death, and added: “I was told by the police that the deceased was given drinks between 5:00 and 5:30am.”
Dr Khairul, however, admitted that he did not ask the MACC officers whether Teoh was well treated throughout the duration he was in the MACC office.
Teoh, 30, political aide to the chairperson of the Selangor Permanent Committee on New Villages and Illegal Factories Management, Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on 16 July on the roof of the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam here, after giving statements to the Selangor MACC as a witness in the investigation into allegations of misappropriation of Selangor state government funds. — Bernama