August 18, 2009

Beng Hock Was Squatting In Fear Before Falling, Court Told

SHAH ALAM, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- Teoh Beng Hock was in fear while being held in a squatting position on the window ledge at the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam here before he fell and died on the fifth floor, the Coroner's Court heard Tuesday.There were smudge marks on the window and a vertical scratch, believed to be fingerprint, showing that Teoh resisted before he fell, counsel Gobind Singh Deo, who is holding a watching brief for Teoh's family, said at the inquest into his death.Gobind Singh put the suggestion to Dr Prashant Naresh Samberkar, forensic pathologist from the Universiti Malaya medical Centre, who said: "It is possible.""I would consider the victim to be in a squatting position. In my opinion it was unlikely that the deceased was standing on the window ledge considering his height at 178cm," said Dr Samberkar, who has more than 10 years experience in forensic pathology.He said he also found line marks measuring 3mm on the sole of Teoh's shoe which, in his opinion, was consistent with the possibility of Teoh being squatting on the window ledge.However, when asked by government-appointed counsel Tan Hock Chuan, as to whether it was possible for Teoh to squat on the window on his own, Dr Samberkar said: "Possible."He said the smudge marks on the window glass could also be found in cases of someone falling accidentally.Teoh, political aide to Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam on July 16, after giving a statement as a witness in investigations into alleged misuse of state governent funds.Earlier, Dr Samberkar, who conducted the post-mortem on Teoh's body, said it was unlikely that this was a homicidal case, based on a few reasons, including that there was no restraining injury, no defence wound, no injury to the tongue, which could occur in the case of a struggle, and no pressure to the neck.It was also unlikely that the death was caused by a accident al fall because, he said, Teoh was not under the influence of drug or alcohol."It is unlikely that the victim would have fallen accidentally by opening the window because the barrier of the window was above the centre of the body's gravity, and the floor on the 14th floor was carperted and not slippery," he further explained."The most likely cause of death in the present case, in my opinion, would be suicidal," he said.However, he admitted that he was not in a position to say whether Teoh had any reason to commit suicide.

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