Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pathologist: Teoh' s death caused by fall


SHAH ALAM: Teoh Beng Hock died of multiple injuries caused by a fall from a high place and the post-mortem showed no signs of defensive injuries or a struggle, an inquest into his death was told.

Senior consultant pathologist Dr Khairul Azman, 51, said the political aide had 22 fractures, abrasions and bruises when the post-mortem was conducted on him on July 17.

However, according to Dr Khairul Azman, of the Klang Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, none of these injuries indicated that Teoh had sustained them either in a struggle or by defending himself in an attack.

“The injuries detected on Teoh were consistent with impact due to a fall from a high place. Death was also due to multiple injuries caused by fall from a high place,” said the pathologist, who conducted the post-mortem together with Universiti Malaya Medical Centre’s forensic pathologist Dr Prashant Samberkar.

He was also of the view that Teoh had landed on his feet and crashed onto the right side of his body, judging from the impact injuries sustained on his right torso and limbs.

A small piece of bone fragment was also found in Teoh’s right sock and his right leg was also found to have become shorter than his left.

Dr Khairul Azman then demonstrated to the court how he believes Teoh might have landed on the ground after the fall.

Replying to questions posed by lawyer Tan Hock Chuan, who is appointed by the Government to assist coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas, Dr Khairul Azman said Teoh could have died less than 36 hours (a day and a half) before the post-mortem (conducted about noon on July 17), based on the odour and state of rigor mortis.

Teoh, 30, was found dead at 1.30pm on July 16, which was a day after he had gone to the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office located on the 14th and 15th floor of Plaza Masalam near here.

His body was found on the fifth floor. He had been summoned to go there to help investigations into the disbursement of state funds.

Dr Khairul Azman told the inquest that besides fractures in his legs and arms, there were also fractures in Teoh’s skull, neck and jawbone.

Teoh had severe damage to his chest cavity, which was filled with blood.

He had also broken almost all his ribs and had serious damage to the protective ribcage layer that covered his heart.

“There was a lot of internal bleeding in several parts of his body as well as under his skin,” he added.

On another matter, Dr Khairul Azman said it was not a common practice for him to conduct a post-mortem with another pathologist.

“Then why did you perform the post-mortem with Dr Prashant?” asked Tan.

Dr Khairul Azman replied: “The post-mortem was conducted with Dr Prashant due to the request made by his brother Teoh Meng Kee who wanted Dr Prashant to be present.”

Earlier, Gobind Singh Deo, who is representing Teoh’s family, protested that Dr Khairul Azman testified in Bahasa Malaysia although he had written his post-mortem report in English.

Gobind said many crucial points could be lost in the impromptu verbal translation done by Dr Khairul Azman while testifying.

However, Tan argued, saying: “It’s not right to force someone to speak in a language he’s not comfortable with.”

Azmil Muntapha then told Dr Khairul Azman that he was not being compelled to speak in English but urged him to ascertain that nothing was lost in translation.

Dr Khairul Azman agreed to read directly from his report.

The inquest continues today.

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