Dispute over suicide theory

(Malaysian Mirror) – There is a possibility that political aide Teoh Beng Hock committed suicide by jumping off a high place, an inquest into his death was told today.

Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim, 51, senior medical consultant at the Forensics Department, Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang, said his finding was based on the absence of any signs of a struggle near the window where Teoh was believed to have fallen from the 14th floor office of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at Plaza Masalam here on July 16.

"There was no blood stain, smashed glass or any items scattered near the window and an MACC pen, which was in Teoh's pocket, was still there.

Cannot be accidental

"The DNA test also found no DNA traces from the MACC officers, and the injuries (on Teoh's body) did not show any signs of a struggle and were consistent with a fall, " he said when questioned by government-appointed lawyer Tan Hock Chuan who is assisting in the inquest.

Teoh, 30, who was political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16 on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam, after giving a statement in an investigation into alleged abuse of state government funds.teoh-beng-hock-3.png

Questioned by Tan on the possibility of Teoh being drowned, Khairul said there were no signs that Teoh had drowned.

He also ruled out the possibility that Teoh's death was accidental as it was hard to believe that someone in a conscious state would slip while standing near the window because the place was not slippery and was carpeted.

Several possibilities

"However, there was a possibility that it could have happened when Teoh tried to open the window wide and he was sleepy.

"But this could be questioned because if Teoh had slipped, with the window at his waist level, and fallen, he would have landed in a different position, probably, the head or body first. This is just a possibility, " he added.

Dr Khairul said his findings were based on the post-mortem and toxicology reports, as well as checks at the scene of the incident on July 16 and 22.

He said that based on the toxicology report, Teoh was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.

He also told the court that there were several possibilities for a person to fall from a high place.

He could fall accidentally, jump off on his own or be thrown or pushed, he added.

Suicide theory baseless, said lawyergobind-singh-deo-2.jpg

Gobind Singh Deo (pic), who is holding a watching brief for Teoh's family, said the theory theory that  the political aide committed suicide by jumping from the 14th floor of the building was baseless.

He said the theory by Dr Khairul could not be accepted because it was not supported by evidence.

"I put it to you that you are wrong. This is not a case of the deceased jumping and committing suicide because there is no shoe print or fingerprint on the window.

"This theory on suicide is based on non-existing facts because you, yourself, did not conduct checks to support the theory," he told Dr Khairul.

Gobind questioned why there was no shoeprint on the window sill if Teoh had stood on it before jumping.

Dr Khairul: Perhaps, there was, but it could not be seen. I checked, but didn't see it. It is not easy to find a shoe print near the window area because the place is carpeted".

He then demonstrated how Teoh could have fallen from the window by lifting his right leg and then the left leg out of the witness stand, with both hands holding the railing (as the window sill), before standing outside the stand and pretending to jump.

Fingerprint poser

Following the demonstration, Gobind wanted to know why there was no fingerprint on the window sill.

"There was none. Fingerprints should be detected with suitable tools, but we don't have them in my laboratory," Dr Khairul said, adding that he also did not ask the police to test for fingerprints.

To another question on why no shoe print was found outside the window where Teoh was alleged to have stood before jumping, he said if the shoe soles were dusty, they could be easily seen.

When Gobind suggested that one of Teoh's shoes was purposely thrown out of the window after his body was thrown to show elements of homicide in his death, Dr Khairul said that in his opinion, the shoe dropped from Teoh's foot because of strong impact.

The body, then the shoe?

Gobind:  Would you agree with me that there was a possibility of the deceased being thrown out first, then the shoe?

Dr Khairul: Yes, there was a possibility.

The pathologist will continue with his testimony on Monday.

The inquest is before coroner Azmil Mustapha Abas.