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Saturday, 29 March 2014

'Magistrate must make conclusive decision'

PUTRAJAYA: The magistrate conducting the inquest must deliver a conclusive decision on the cause of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock’s death and not give an open verdict, the Court of Appeal here heard.

Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo submitted that a magistrate was empowered under the Criminal Procedure Code to make a finding that the cause of death was murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

He is representing Teoh Meng Kee, the brother of Beng Hock, 30, who was found sprawled in a pool of his own blood on the fifth floor landing of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, where the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters was formerly located, on the morning of July 16, 2009.

Teoh Beng Hock

Gobind was making his submission yesterday in the appeal brought by his client against the Jan 5, 2010 decision of the Coroner’s Court, which returned an open verdict that Beng Hock’s death was not due to suicide or homicide, and that it found no third party involvement in the death.

He said it would be incorrect to suggest that the task of an inquest was solely for fact finding.

He also said there was no need for a Coroner’s Court to apply the standard of proof of beyond reasonable doubt when making its findings because it was not a criminal proceeding where a person was on trial and would be convicted and sentenced.

Instead, Gobind said, a lesser standard of proof of balance of probability should apply.

Meanwhile, the three-member panel chaired by Justice Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof directed parties in the appeal to make further submissions concerning Section 328 of the Criminal Procedure Code, with regard to the powers of a magistrate conducting an inquest and what decisions the magistrate could make.

The panel also fixed April 18 for parties to appear before the Court of Appeal registrar to sort out the records of appeal to include certain documents.

Mohamad Ariff also said the court would set four straight days to continue the hearing of this appeal.

After the Coroner’s Court handed down the open verdict, Meng Kee filed an application to the High Court to have that decision reviewed.

However, the High Court in Shah Alam rejected his review application on Dec 1, 2011.

He obtained leave from the Court of Appeal on Feb 2 last year to appeal against the decision of the High Court. — Bernama

Tags / Keywords: Courts Crime , teoh beng hock


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