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Lawyer apologises to media during inquest of Dutch model (updated)


KUALA LUMPUR: A lawyer has apologised to the media on behalf of his clients for allowing foreign media to accompany coroner Mahyon Talib and her court team to visit the scene where Dutch model Ivana Esther Robert Smit was found dead.

Counsel Sankara Nair, who was holding a watching brief for Ivana’s family, made the apology before coroner Mahyon as they felt it was unfair to only allow foreign media to go up to the scene at level six and 20 of CapSquare Residences, where Ivana was last seen.

On Wednesday (Aug 8), an investigating officer had informed local media - The Star, FMT, Utusan Malaysia and Bernama - at the lobby lift of the condominium that they were not allowed to follow the team. They were only allowed to wait at the lobby area.

Sankara said they were not aware that local media were barred from going up. 

“We are sorry. My clients did not realise that it was the foreign media who followed them up. I have spoken to the relevant parties and they informed me that they had made a mistake,” he said when the inquest proceedings resumed at 2.45pm Friday.

The inquest is being conducted to ascertain Ivana’s cause of death. She had fallen to her death from the balcony of a condominium unit in Dang Wangi on Dec 7 last year.

Earlier, Capsquare Residences technician Ridzuan Zakaria said third witness Suparman informed him at 2.20pm that the blinds and roof which covered the balcony of his unit had collapsed.

“I followed Suparman to his condominium at the sixth floor of the condominium and from the window I was standing, I saw a leg in the ruins. The body was covered in pieces of plastic and steel. 

“I later went down and told my boss Vanessa Tanuja Nair, who then alerted the police,” he said.

Ridzuan said he was not at the scene when the body was removed, adding that he had not seen the deceased before her death.

When asked by DPP Joy Jothi whether he moved anything out of the scene before the police arrived, Ridzuan replied, “No”.

He also said he did not see anybody suspicious between 9am and 2.20pm.

Meanwhile, Vanessa testified that she went up to level six with the police and found the whole roof had collapsed on the balcony, adding that she could not remember whether the victim’s face was covered with anything.

Vanessa said when she and the police team went up to the 20th floor, and rang the door bell, no one answered the door. 

However, she heard the smashing sound of a glass bottle from inside the unit.

She then went down to call the occupiers - Johnson and his wife Luna - of the condominium unit on their mobile phones, but one handphone was unanswered while another was unreachable.

Vanessa said she and the police team managed to enter the condominium unit half an hour later, adding that the couple looked as if they had just woken up.

“The house was messy with a broken bottle under a table and an opened lipstick,” she said, adding that the police then brought the couple to the location where the body was found.

Vanessa said Johnson was shocked to see the body. The inquest continues next Tuesday (Aug 14). 

Met after the proceedings, Ivana’s paternal grandfather Hendrik Smit said his granddaughter stayed with him and his wife Ho Sioe Tjoan in Batu Feringgi, Penang, when she was 18 months old until she was 14 years old.

He added that Ivana then went back to the Netherlands to stay with her parents but her heart was still in Malaysia.

“She came back to Malaysia October last year,” he said.

 
   

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