Teoh inquest postponed to Aug 5

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 30 Jul 2009

Teoh inquest postponed to Aug 5

SHAH ALAM: The inquest into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock has been postponed to Aug 5 to give more time to the lawyers to study all the documents.

Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas granted the request from Gobind Singh Deo, who is holding a watching brief for Teoh’s family.

Gobind said an adjournment would also give the Government time to consider the appeal made by Teoh’s family for his death to be investigated by a Royal Commission of Inquiry and not an inquest.

“The family have appealed to the Prime Minister to reconsider the decision and the Cabinet is meeting today. We request that the proceedings be adjourned pending the outcome of their appeal,” Gobind said, adding that the family was only participating in the inquest “under protest”.

Also in Gobind’s team are Sankara Nair, Lim Lip Eng and Karpal Singh (who was not in court yesterday).

Acting for the Attorney-General are Tan Hock Chuan, Mohd Idham Abd Ghani, Cains Tan and Justin Wee while Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, Ashok Kandiah, Sreekanth Pillai and Asmah Yunos are representing the Selangor government.

Gobind also asked for copies of the relevant documents, including the pathologists’ reports and witness statements, to be given to lawyers representing the family and state.

They include the post-mortem, forensics, toxicology and criminology reports, closed-circuit television (CCTV) clips and DNA samples.

To this, Tan retorted: “Since my learned friend Gobind is making so much of noise, I suggest we give him copies of all the documents.

“We are prepared to give the documents and the state is ready to start the inquest. But we are not providing witness statements. Everything else, we will provide,” he said.

Earlier, Azmil Muntapha granted “interested party status” to lawyers appointed by the family and the state government, allowing them to question witnesses during the inquest, expected to last for 15 days.

The Bar Council, which led a team to hold a watching brief, also requested for the “interested party status”.

However, Tan, who did not object to the first two groups, said lawyers holding a watching brief for the Bar Council did not fall within the applicable provisions to be granted such a status.

The coroner, who is the Shah Alam High Court deputy registrar, allowed the Bar Council lawyers to participate and ask questions in the inquest.

Teoh, 30, was found dead on July 16 on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam the morning after he was interviewed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which has its state office on the 14th floor of the building.

Teoh, who was political secretary to Selangor exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was reported to be a witness in an investigation into the alleged abuse of constituency development funds by several Selangor Pakatan Rakyat state assemblymen.

Reports had said that Teoh was released after his statement was recorded, but had asked to sleep on the sofa in the office.

His death is believed to have taken place between 6am and 8am.

The inquest is on despite many quarters questioning its effectiveness. Many parties wanted the Royal Commission of Inquiry to be the forum to unravel Teoh’s suspicious death and determine the cause.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the inquest to probe his death and the inquiry to determine if Teoh’s human rights were violated when he was questioned by the MACC.

Related Stories: DNA of two males found on Teoh's clothes Early birds turn up at 5am to cover inquest Private lawyer picked to help coroner

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