British pathologist: Teoh was conscious when he fell

Disagreed with the theory of Thai pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunand that bruises found on the neck of the deceased were caused by strangulation.

March 29 (Bernama) – The Commission of Inquiry investigating the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock heard today that Teoh’s skull fracture might be due to a fall from a height and to excessive strain.

Prof Dr Peter Vanezis, who had participated in the investigation into the death of British royalty, Princess Diana, and is currently engaged by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), said the possibility of injury to the skull induced pressure on the flat surface.

Dr Vanezis said this same force caused injuries to the deceased’s pelvis, and upper and lower limbs, including those areas of tissue damage.

Questioned by lawyer Christopher Leong from the Bar Council whether the skull fracture was caused by beatings with blunt objects, Dr Vanezis said:”There was no indication the deceased was injured by a blunt object.”

Teoh, 30, the political aide of Selangor state exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah was found dead on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, Selangor, after giving his statement at the Selangor MACC office located on the 14th floor of the same building.

Dr Vanezis disagreed with the theory of Thai pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunand that bruises found on the neck of the deceased were caused by strangulation.

“There was no evidence that Teoh’s neck had been compressed, as with strangulaton. The bruises on the neck region were part of the overall injury from the fall,” he said.

Dr Vanezis, and Pornthip — hired by the Selangor government — had observed a second post-mortem on Teoh’s exhumed remains in November 2009.

The British pathologist noted no effect or cracking finger around the neck and bleeding around the eyes that was common if the dead was strangled.

Replying to conducting officer Amerjeet Singh, Dr Vanezis, the 27th witnesses, said if there was prolonged neck lock, there would be signs of asphyxia which was not present here.

He also told the inquiry that the fracture in the bones showed the victim landed with his feet when falling, and this showed that the deceased was conscious when he fell.

Questioned by inquiry panel chairman, Federal Court judge Tan Sri James Foong Cheng Yuen whether there was possibility of the deceased slipping from the window, Dr Vanezis said: “I was told there were shoe marks in the window frame, where the deceased might have sat for a while before stepping out of the window.”

Referring to the bruises on Teoh’s chest area, he believed the bruises appeared due to pressure from his clothes.

The inquiry panel members also include former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman, former Appeals Court judge Datuk T. Selventhiranathan, Penang Hospital’s forensic pathologist Datuk Dr Bhupinder Singh and the dean of Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences, Prof Dr Mohamed Hatta Shaharom.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak ordered the setting up of the commission of inquiry on Jan 25 this year to investigate into Teoh’s death after the Coroner’s Court returned an open verdict on the case.

The inquiry continues tomorrow.

Lawyer’s theory “extremely unlikely”, says Dr Vanezis

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 (Bernama) — A British forensic expert who testified before the Commission of Inquiry investigating the death of Teoh Beng Hock deemed a theory that someone applied cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before deciding to throw Teoh off the window as “extremely unlikely”.

Prof Dr Peter Vanezis said counsel Christopher Leong, who represented the Bar Council, was also “taking it a bit too far” with that theory of his.

Leong suggested that Teoh could have possibly been restrained (the neck hold), which could have injured the carotid artery or the vagus nerve (both located at the neck region), rendering him unconscious.

He also suggested that the person or persons who were present did not know what had happened and applied CPR on Teoh.

He said as the person/s thought Teoh was gone (dead), they decided to throw him off the window but within that fall, he regained consciousness.

“Your theory is extremely unlikely and would take a great leap of faith to believe that Teoh was restrained by neck lock which rendered him unconscious, causing the officers to perform CPR. You are taking it a bit too far,” he said.

Dr Vanezis also explained that injuries to the arms and wrists were due to the deceased toppling over a bit as he went down and his arms were not directly outstretched.

He said for an “incapacitated and restrained” person to get out of the window without a single mark was “quite an achievement” as there would be some struggle, and a person who was conscious and aware would leave some marks to a small window as he would be struggling if pushed out.

Dr Vanezis maintained his opinion that Teoh was fully conscious when he fell and had attempted to break his fall from a height.

Teoh, 30, who was the political aide of Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009, after being questioned overnight at the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office on the 14th floor.