Teoh inquest: Verdict makes no sense

Posted: January 7, 2011 in Articles, News

Source: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/152566

‘As a former judicial officer – I have heard a number of inquests in the early 90s – I find this ruling hard to comprehend.’

‘Teoh’s death not suicide or homicide’

Md Imraz Muhammed Ikhbal: Suicide, homicide or natural causes. The cause of death of any living soul on this planet can only be one out the three, or in rare occasions a combination thereof.

Now that the coroner has literally ruled out both suicide and homicide due to lack of evidence, by logical implication he has absurdly and nonsensically concluded that TBH must have therefore died due to natural causes.

Now, if there isn’t sufficient evidence to conclude on any of the first two causes, how then can it be that TBH died of natural causes when there isn’t even the slightest shred of evidence to suggest so?

The coroner should have just stuck to a plain open verdict and not ruled out anything since either substantiating or at the least circumstantial evidence is required to conclusively determine that he was not murdered or did not commit suicide.

Bekas Umno: The coroner has in his decision ruled that the exact cause of TBH’s death is not known. Open verdict simply means that the said coroner has found some facts of a crime but not stating the criminal, or finding the fact of a violent death without disclosing the cause.

As a former judicial officer – I have heard a number of inquests in the early 90s – a practising criminal lawyer and an academician, I find this ruling hard to comprehend. He (judge Azmil Muntapha Abas) ruled out suicide and also homicide but found that TBH was injured by MACC before he died.

He also ruled that TBH was alive when he ‘fell’ out the window and died due to his injuries. He found not enough evidence to show that TBH was thrown out the window. To me, the judgment is face-saving one, a neither here nor there judgment.

A friend of mine has opined that it is politically safe judgment. Only until we find out the truth, we should at this point of time blame the strong winds or some unrest spirits at MACC for TBH’s death.

FairMind: The coroner has ruled out suicide, which is the most important factor. MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) was trying to make it look like suicide to absolve their responsibility.

If it wasn’t suicide and TBH was found dead after he was interviewed in the MACC office then that would implicate the MACC. The MACC would be responsible for his death and since that responsibility was not probed in the inquest then a royal commission of inquiry would be the most logical choice to probe into the reasons why TBH was found dead when it was not a suicide.

Now that it was not suicide, the ball is back in MACC’s court. The first part (not suicide) is done and the coroner has said that there were questionable marks on the neck. MACC, how did TBH died and why was there questionable marks on TBH’s neck while he was under interrogation?

Cala: To return a verdict of no suicide or homicide, two situations were plausible on that fateful morning:

i) TBH (Teoh Beng Hock) did not jump down by himself.

ii) TBH was not pushed down by a MACC officer.

PM Najib Razak’s defining moment is here. The coroner is saying that the late TBH did not take his own life on the morning of July 16, 2009. By extension, he was murdered by parties who were working in MACC.

In a situation like this, it would be interesting to watch closely the reaction of the current regime. In fact, it is their moment of litmus test. They will win points if they proceed to charge those involved in the night-long interrogation of TBH for causing his death.

The opposite is true if they choose to remain quiet, hence leaving the public to guess just how far they were involved in the death of TBH. To me, this is the defining moment to show sincerity matters, not exhortation of empty slogans of ‘people first, performance now’.

Tired2: Like it or not, it is a fair judgment based on facts, not assumption and presumption. Try to understand, though it is difficult for people full of hatred and enmity of the government and the judiciary, this is an inquest, not ‘kedai kopi’ talk where everybody can make claims and accusations without the need to proof them.

Many have now demanded a royal commission of inquiry but what make them so sure it will deliver a verdict that they want – that TBH was murdered. The royal commission may also rule an open verdict, then what? Demand for a Thai or British royal commission of inquiry? A commission with Pakatan Rakyat members on the panel?

Today’s verdict is a closure, so let’s move on.

Changeagent: To date, the whole line of investigation taken by the authorities has been based on the assumption that TBH had committed suicide. The onus had always been on Teoh’s family lawyers to prove that the deceased had not taken his own life.

On the other hand, the possibility of murder by MACC personnel had hardly been considered as none of the interrogators have been charged or brought to face the music. I think the authorities should seriously look at this case again but from the perspective of homicide.

Charge the interrogators who were involved in TBH’s night-long grilling since they are the most likely suspects of foul play. If they are innocent, surely justice will prevail for them. But as PM Najib said, no stones should be left unturn in finding out the truth and seeking real justice for TBH.

Anonymous_408b: I pray every day incident like this and Aminulrasyid Amzah will never happened to my family. If we let this one pass by with no fight then I am afraid one day it will come knocking my door.

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