PUTRAJAYA: The Coroner’s Court conducting the inquest into Teoh Beng Hock’s death should have returned a verdict of homicide, the Court of Appeal heard.
Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said the coroner had misdirected himself in respect of the standard of proof when he returned an open verdict on Jan 5, 2010, that Teoh’s death was not caused by suicide or homicide.
Gobind submitted that the coroner had cited a case law whereby the coroner was of the view that the standard of proof in an inquest is one of on the balance of probabili-ties (a lower test) sliding to the beyond reasonable doubt standard (higher test).
“The decision (in the case law) was made by another coroner in another case and it would have been therefore, opened to the learned coroner in Teoh’s case to differ in opinion over the standard of proof to be applied if he felt it necessary to do so.
“The learned coroner, after reproducing
this passage went on to apply the beyond
reasonable doubt test instead of the test as propounded in the case law.
“In applying the beyond reasonable doubt test, the coroner has further failed to demonstrate how he arrived at the extreme end of the sliding scale he proposed,” he said.
Gobind was submitting in an appeal filed by his client Meng Kee, Teoh’s brother, against the decision of the Shah Alam Coroner’s Court.
Following the open verdict by the coroner, Meng Kee then filed an application to the
Shah Alam High Court to have that decision reviewed but it was rejected 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.
Gobind further submitted that if both the coroner and the High Court judge had applied the ordinary balance of probabilities test to
the facts of the case, they would have come
to a conclusion that there was sufficient evidence to come to a finding of homicide.
He asked the court to allow the appeal and the finding of an open verdict by the Coroner’s Court substituted with one of a homicide, instead.
The hearing continues today.