No judicial review for Teoh suicide verdict, court rules

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — The family of the late Teoh Beng Hock today failed to challenge the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s (RCI) conclusion that the Selangor DAP political aide committed suicide in 2009.

Teoh’s family filed the application for judicial review against the RCI on August 24.

The RCI, which was chaired by sitting Federal Court judge Tan Sri James Foong, found that Teoh had been driven to suicide after relentless questioning by investigators from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The five-man panel wrapped up its report on June 15 after hearing testimony from 70 witnesses in its bid to unravel the mysterious circumstances behind Teoh’s death at the then Selangor MACC headquarters on July 16, 2009.

Judge Datuk Rohana Yusof ruled today that an RCI could not be subjected to a judicial review, as the court was bound by an earlier federal court decision.

Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, who is representing the Teoh family, told The Malaysian Insider the decision was made in chambers.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bol Hassan represented the RCI, whose commissioners were named as respondents.

“The judge’s decision was based on the federal court’s decision in Datuk V. K Lingam’s appeal, where they ruled that recommendations of the RCI are not subject to judicial review,” he said.

Gobind said the only option the family had right now is to challenge the federal court’s decision in Lingam’s case, but said that he was not sure whether they wanted to do that.

“There is still the revision application on the coroner’s open verdict, which will take place the day after tomorrow,” Gobind said.

Before the RCI was formed, a coroner’s inquest had in January returned an “open verdict” ruling out both suicide and homicide.