Teoh inquest: Torture testimony ruled relevant (Update 2)


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 10 Sep 2009

nurbaiti@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: “Mystery witness” T. Sivanesan, 22, can continue taking the stand in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest after the High Court here dismissed an application by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to expunge his testimony.

Justice Datin Yeoh Wee Siam said in her ruling that there was nothing illegal, incorrect or improper with the ruling made by Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas on Tuesday regarding the relevance of evidence implicating the MACC.

“I have perused all the documents and considered all the submissions. There is nothing illegal, incorrect or improper by the Coroner to allow the witness Sivanesan to testify and I dismiss this application,” she said on Thursday.

Yeoh also rejected a stay of application by deputy public prosecutor Manoj Kurup, who represented the MACC in the application, and ordered all parties to proceed with the inquest.

Earlier, Manoj submitted to the court that the objections were based solely on the grounds that Sivanesan’s testimony would not assist the Coroner in the inquest but would be prejudicial to the MACC.

“The only essence or purpose of this witness was to smear, taint and tarnish the image of the MACC and nothing more. It has no nexus to the cause of death of Teoh,” he said.

Gobind Singh Deo, representing Teoh’s family, submitted that the Coroner should be allowed to conduct the inquest the way he sees fit.

He said the Coroner was dutybound to look into all matters necessary as to how the deceased died and this includes hearsay.

“Why was the MACC allowed to bring witnesses to say that nothing happened, while we aren’t allowed to bring our witness to say something had happened, did happen, and will continue to happen?” he said, adding that the Coroner has the prerogative to believe the witness or otherwise after being presented with the evidence.

On Wednesday, Datuk Abdul Razak Musa, who is holding a watching brief for the MACC, filed the application for a judicial review under Section 323 of the Criminal Procedure Code to stop Sivanesan from testifying in the inquest.

This was after Azmil Muntapha had allowed Sivanesan to take the stand despite strong objections from Abdul Razak.

Azmil said the testimony was relevant as Sivanesan’s alleged torture took place at the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam and the same officers could have been involved in both incidents.

The application also sought to expunge Sivanesan’s testimony together with a police report and a set of photographs of his injuries.

Sivanesan, an assistant manager with Puncak Rezeki Makmur Sdn Bhd, claimed that he was beaten with an iron rod and suffered injuries to his head, kidneys and genital area.

Teoh, who was the political secretary to Selangor executive councilor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was summoned to the MACC office located on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam here on July 15 to be questioned over the alleged irregular disbursement of state funds.

He was found dead at the building’s fifth floor service corridor the following day.

The inquest continues Friday at the Shah Alam Magistrates Court.

Related Stories: Assistant manager: MACC officers tortured me during questioning Teoh would not speak, looked worried, says officer Teoh inquest: Mystery man talks of torture (Updated) Koh: MACC boss should not comment on specific cases Teoh Inquest: Grilling over MACC 'torture' report ‘Torture’ used at MACC office MACC officer denies using force during questioning Teoh Inquest (Day 16): Court hears about police report alleging 'torture' by MACC Teoh’s inquest Day 15: Mohd Najeib says he didn't hear any shouting that night

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