[The Malaysian Insider] Beng Hock might have been strangled prior to death
~ By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
SHAH ALAM, March 1 — Sungai Buloh hospital chief pathologist Dr Shahidan Md Noor today agreed with lawyers Gobind Singh Deo and Malik Imtiaz Sarwar that it is possible that neck injuries sustained by Teoh Beng Hock might have been caused by strangulation.
He, however, affirmed in court that it was not likely that the strangulation killed him and that his fall was the cause of death.
“He (Dr Shahidan) agreed that the injuries to the front part of the neck might have not been connected to the injuries of the fall. It’s open to argue that it could be a pre-fall injury,” said Malik, who is the lawyer for the Selangor state government.
Teoh, a Selangor government political secretary, was found dead last July 16 at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Selangor office after an overnight interrogation.
Malik explained to reporters that the injuries to the throat muscle could have been caused by choking or strangulation.
He said that there were three main injuries to the neck, and that the cause of the first two injuries were different from the third injury, which affected the spinal area.
“It has now been accepted that the first two injuries to the neck muscles were separate injuries than the deeper muscle.”
Earlier in the coroner’s court, counsel for Teoh’s family Gobind Singh Deo went all out to establish doubt over the findings of the first post-mortem report by Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim and Dr Prashant Naresh Samberkar.
The fiery lawyer argued that the report was “insufficient” as no tests were done to examine the marks around the neck, something which should have been “standard procedure” in cases of custodial death.
“There was no dissection done on material parts, most important the injuries to the neck. The two important things to look for are not in the first report.
“No dissections were done in the first report as you have conducted in the second post-mortem,” said Gobind.
While Dr Shahidan agreed that the report lacked details of the investigations the neck abrasions, and concurred with Gobind that it was strange that these marks were not in the first post-mortem report, he stopped short at agreeing with Gobind’s suggestion that the report was insufficient and “utterly incompetent.”
Dr Shahidan moved to defend the findings of the first report, despite being open to the possibility that it was evidence of strangulation.
“The superficial injuries on the neck would have only been evident after 24 hours, that’s why they couldn’t see the marks. The signs of asphyxia were not apparent on Teoh Beng Hock’s neck,” said the pathologist.
“Does the report reflect dissection was done?” asked Gobind.
Dr Shahidan says it was done, but not recorded, which led Gobind to accuse him of going out of the way to defend the first report.
At the beginning of the inquest today, the doctor had explained that the signs to look for in cases of custodial death are pressure marks around neck, signs of beating, internal injuries which are not consistent with input given by the officer in charge of the supposed detainee.
“If it weren’t for Dr Pornthip’s testimony, we would not know about the cause of injuries to the neck of the deceased. Now, there is a possibility that Teoh Beng Hock was strangled on the 14th floor of the MACC. Now I didn’t say strangled to death, I said strangled. These are material facts to be considered in this case.”
“Teoh was actually tortured before fall, there are marks which prove it.”
Shahidan: “It’s possible but not probable.”
Gobind: “I see... then again you wouldn’t say anything bad about the first report would you?”
Dr Shahidan’s agreement of the possibility of strangulation seemingly contradicts his own report which rules out manual strangulation although there was evidence of bruises on and contusions to Teoh’s neck.
The court has fixed March 10 for the cross-examination of Dr Shahidan to continue and also to call on Kajang councillor Tan Boon Wah to take the witness stand.
Taken from The Malaysian Insider.