UPDATE: Inquest halted to test mystery stains near MACC office

By Chua Sue-Ann, The Edge

SHAH ALAM: The inquest into political secretary Teoh Beng Hock's death was adjourned to Tuesday for DNA and forensic experts to probe unknown stains, believed to be blood, found during last Friday's site visit.

Teoh's family's counsel Gobind Singh Deo made the application for adjournment at the outset of today's proceedings, stressing that it was urgent that the stains' origins be ascertained without delay. About 10 police forensic personnel arrived at 11.40am to take specimens of the stains. Lawyers and government DNA experts are also present at the site.

Last Friday, coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas and lawyers made a site visit to the fifth floor corridor at Plaza Masalam location where Teoh's body was found on July 16.

Gobind said two large stains were found on the walls of the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) office and two stains on the floor at an emergency stairs connecting the 14th and 15th floor.

The state MACC occupies Plaza Masalam's 14th floor and part of 15th floor.

Supporting Gobind's stand, Selangor state government's counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar told the court that new findings on the stain could have bearing on the pathologists' report.

Three government pathologists were initially scheduled to take the stand today while two Thai pathologists, engaged by Teoh's family and the Selangor state government, were present to observe proceedings today.

The two foreign pathologists are colleagues of renown Thai pathology expert Porntip Rojanasunan of the Thai Central Institute of Forensic science.

Criminal lawyer Tan Hock Chuan, who is assisting coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas, had no objections to Gobind's request.

Tan, who is leading the Attorney-General's (AG) team in the inquest, also said lawyers and experts of Teoh's family and the state government can be present with government DNA experts and have their own experts extract specimens for testing.

Later, Gobind also sought to put on record that although he had asked investigating officer Ahmad Nazri Zainal to cordon off the area on Friday, it was not done until Saturday.

Tan then told Gobind not to make an issue out of the matter, explaining that he had only received Malik's letter requesting that the area be secured late Friday evening.

Teoh, who was political secretary to Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Section 8 here on July 16.

Teoh, 30, was interrogated overnight by MACC as a witness in a probe into alleged misuse of state funds by several Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblymen.

A result on the samples — whether the stains are human blood and if so, its origins — is expected Tuesday morning.

Azmil also said Tuesday's inquest would trim down the witness list, comprising 97 civilian witnesses, to remove those who were unnecessary to the inquest.

In its first four days, the inquest had heard evidence from three chemists and six security and maintenance staff working at Plaza Masalam.