Teoh free of drugs, alcohol and poison, RCI told

Posted: February 26, 2011 in News
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Source: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/teoh-free-of-drugs-alcohol-and-poison-rci-told/

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) was told today that no traces of common drugs, alcohol and poison were found by the Chemistry Department in samples of Teoh Beng Hock’s blood.

Zahariah Awang, from the department, said she had received two samples of blood, a sample of urine and a sample of specimen from the stomach on July 21 from Selangor police forensic expert Chief Inspector Mazli Jusoh.

MACC counsel Datuk Shafee Abdullah questioned whether the chemist had tested the samples for cholesterol and glucose.

Shafee explained that studies have shown that suicide victims are prone to have low level of cholesterol and glucose in the body.

“Studies have shown that patients that are abnormal have low level of glucose or hypoglycemia,” he said.

“People with low level of cholesterol were also found to be extremely moody,” he added.

Bar Council lawyer Christopher Leong objected as the statement implied that Teoh was abnormal.

“I was not referring to Teoh but was using the word abnormal in a larger context,” Shafee replied.

Shafee continued to stress the importance of glucose level in the body and asked if the RCI could request for the samples to be tested again.

However Zahariah explained that the test would only provide false results as the samples were not placed in a container at a temperature of 4 degree Celsius.

RCI chairman Tan Sri James Foong agreed and rejected Shafee’s request.

Leong continued to ask Zahariah the analysis on the sample included tests for heroin and cocaine.

“Heroin and cocaine are categorised as common drugs,” she said.

Zahariah also pointed out that medicated, prescriptive and recreational drugs are defined as common drugs.

Foong asked Zahariah why the analysis report did not state that there was no traces of poison in the report.

Zahariah replied that poison is also considered as common drugs.

Earlier the court interpreter translated SMSes found on Teoh’s handphone but none of the text messages had relation to the investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The text messages from July 7 2009 included Teoh discussing regarding his marriage and friends asking for him when he was held by MACC.

“Beng Hock, you are now popular. How are you? We are worried about you. Don’t forget to call us to say that you are safe when you get out,” the interpreter read one of the SMSes.

Inspector Zaidi Abu Hassan confirmed that the last call made on the phone was to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah on July 15, 2009.

Teoh, political secretary to Ean, was found dead on the fifth-floor corridor of Plaza Masalam on July 16, 2009, after an overnight interrogation by MACC officers.

Foong confirmed this morning that the RCI has  officially contacted both Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand and Dr Peter Vanezis to become witnesses.

Foong said that commission has sent an official letter and called Dr Pornthip but has not been able to reach her.

“Our secretary has attempted to call but have not received any response and we will also write to our embassy in Thailand to seek assistance,” he said.

“We have also contacted Dr Peters from United Kingdom but have not yet received any response,” he added.

Foong said that RCi will officially appoint private investigators by tomorrow and will also seek telco provider, Digi, to provide details of Teoh’s phone calls and text messages.

Foong also confirmed that the RCI has contacted a handwriting specialist in United Kingdom for the inquiry.

Dr Pornthip was the only one out of five forensic experts at the inquest who supported the Teoh family’s claims of foul play, although she declined to repeat her previous assertion that Teoh’s death was 80 per cent homicide.

The three government pathologists at the inquest — Dr Shahidan Md Noor, Dr Prashant Samberkar and Dr Khairul Aznam Ibrahim — are also on the witness list.

Dr Pornthip also said Teoh was likely to have been unconscious before he fell nine floors from the then-Selangor MACC headquarters in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam.

Dr Vanezis — famed for his role in Princess Diana’s inquest — similarly did not rule out the possibility that Teoh could have suffered pre-fall injuries.

In the afternoon, Leong asked Saiful Fazamil Mohd Ali to examine Teoh’s watch strap for any scratches or indentations.

“Yes, I see scratches on the strap but they are only minor,” said the science officer from the Chemistry Department.

Saiful also could not conclude if the scratches were made from a heavy impact.

Dr K. Saravanan, from Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital Klang, told the RCI that two post-mortems were conducted on the table before Teoh’s first post-mortem.

“I was only the photographer and did not assist in moving the body during the post-mortem,” he said.

Leong later suggested that the watch strap and its pin be examined further and the evidence packed in a new plastic bag.

“We will place the evidence in a new plastic bag, then iron to seal it. Then put in a box, wrapped it up, then wax it and place it in the stronghold in the criminal court,” Foong said.

“But the problem is when the investigator wants to see the evidence tomorrow. So they will have to get permission from us so they can take out from the stronghold… or do you want to hold it,” Foong added while holding his laughter.

He then decided to leave the watch strap and the pin in their original plastic bag.

Foong also said the RCI will decide tomorrow if forensic psychiatry consultant Professor Dr Mohamed Hatta Shaharom will be able to sit in during the testimony of the witnesses.

The inquiry resumes tomorrow.

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