SHAH ALAM, Dec 17 — The coroner’s court here today fixed January 5 to deliver its decision on how Teoh Beng Hock died.
Lawyers involved in the inquest had sent their written submissions, some only yesterday, but asked coroner Azmil Munthapa Abas for time to reply.
A total of five parties were required to file in their written submissions to the court last week — the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Selangor government, the Teohs, the Bar Council and Teoh’s boss, Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah.
Gobind Singh Deo, who is representing the Teoh family, told reporters later that out of the five parties, only two had sent in their submissions on time. The other three filed theirs only yesterday.
Gobind did not disclose their names.
“The court needs time to go through the submissions. The submissions are very voluminous,” the lawyer said.
He added that each party will also have to comb through four other sets of the written submissions to see if there was anything they wanted to rebut and they would then have to file their response in what is known as “submissions in reply” to the court.
Azmil fixed December as the cut-off date for the filing of the submissions in reply.
Gobind told The Malaysian Insider the lawyers did not orally submit their closing arguments in court today because it would have taken too long.
“Normally we would do it, but here we have five sets to be presented.
“So the magistrate (who is acting as coroner) said to do it after filing our submissions in reply,” he explained.
Gobind said the lawyers will orally clarify everything on January 5 in open court before the coroner delivers his decision.
Teoh’s younger sister Lee Lan told reporters after today’s hearing that lasted barely five minutes the family was disappointed not to have heard the arguments in open court.
“My family have come all the way from Malacca. Just for five minutes,” she said, on behalf of her parents, brother and sister-in-law Soh Cher Wei, who married Beng Hock in a traditional Chinese ceremony posthumously late last year.
Soh, a primary school teacher from Johor, had brought her child with Beng Hock to the inquest today, taking advantage of the long school holidays.
“We can’t just accept a decision. We want to hear what each lawyer has to say,” said Lee Lan.
“Hopefully, there will be open submissions, which is what the coroner said the last time.
“Now we don’t know why he’s fixed (a date) for decision,” she said, looking upset.
She added that it was not just her family but the public who needed to know what the closing arguments are all about.
Gobind had earlier explained that the lawyers are restrained by court processes from disclosing the contents of their submissions until read out in open court.
“We’ll see what happens on January 5,” he said.
Teoh, 30, was political secretary to Ean Yong at the time of his death on July 16, 2009.
His body was found on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam after being questioned overnight by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at its then Selangor headquarters on the 14th floor of the same building.
The anti-graft officers were investigating a claim his boss was misusing state funds.
The police initially classified the case as sudden death; they did not rule out foul play.