Thu, Aug 19, 2010
The Star/Asia News Network
Pornthip: It wasn't suicide

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia - Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand reiterated that pathology findings showed that political aide Teoh Beng Hock did not commit suicide.

She, however, declined to say how many per cent the 30-year-old deceased's death was due to homicide.

Last year she testified in the inquest, saying that Teoh's death was probably 80% homicide and 20% suicide.

When asked why she declined to quote a percentage this time, Dr Pornthip said:

"That time I had to convince the judge (coroner) to do a second post-mortem, so I had to give a percentage."

She added that there were also many limitations when the second post-mortem was conducted in November last year but she was certain it was not suicide.

In defending her findings, Dr Pornthip said pathologists who conducted the first post-mortem had failed to open the skin at the sacrum (base of the spine) area and posterior part of the thigh to identify the nature of injuries there.

She said after opening up the skin from both the region at the second post-mortem, she was able to deduce that both injuries were due to Teoh's fall.

Dr Pornthip also told coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas that she maintained her opinion that Teoh had sustained injuries before the fall.

Teoh, the political secretary to Selangor executive council member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam on July 16 last year after being interrogated at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office on the 14th floor of the same building as part of investigations into an alleged irregular disbursement of state funds.

On the marks on Teoh's neck, Dr Pornthip said the size of the haemorrhage was not due to manual strangulation and that injuries of that size required more force than what a man could exert.

She said the injury could not have happened during the fall, adding that it could have been a result of someone placing something against the neck or pushing the head down against something.

Dr Pornthip said she disagreed with MACC expert witness Prof Dr Peter Vanezis' earlier opinion that Teoh had landed on his feet and was conscious when he fell.

She said Teoh was probably unconscious when falling as the first post-mortem report stated he suffered a cerebral edema.

Teoh's wrists which did not have bilateral fractures also suggested that he was probably unconscious when falling.

-The Star/Asia News Network

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