KUALA LUMPUR: A lawyer has apologised to the media on behalf of his clients for only 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, an investigating officer informed local media – The Star, FMT, Utusan Malaysia and Bernama – at the lobby of the condominium that they were not allowed to follow the team.
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 yesterday.
The inquest is being conducted to ascertain Ivana’s cause of death.
Ivana fell to her death from the balcony of a condominium unit in Dang Wangi on Dec 7 last year.
Capsquare Residences manager Vanessa Tanuja Nair testified she could not remember if the victim’s face was covered with anything when she went up to level six of the building with the police.
Vanessa said when she and the police team went up to the 20th floor for the second time and rang the door bell, no one answered the door.
However, she said she heard the sound of a glass bottle smashing from inside the unit.
She then went down to call the residents of the unit – Johnson and his wife Luna – but one mobile phone went unanswered while the other was unreachable.
Vanessa said she and the police team managed to enter the 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.
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.
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 in October last year,” he said.