Wednesday, November 4, 2009

TBH, why not allowing Dr Pornthip to conduct the second autopsy?

The question of legitimacy of Dr Pornthip under the Medical Act 1971, which prohibits her from conducting the second autopsy, is expected, but disappointed.

I am not questioning about the decision of the Coroner, however, by admitting her to be a witness by the Court has implied that the Court recognizes her as a Forensic expert. If such, why should her not allowed to conduct the autopsy?

If the Court accepted her testimony, and subsequently allowing the second autopsy to be conducted, why not her?

The function of judiciary system is to uphold justice, upholding justice even the Court may need to make exemption if the current laws prohibits such action.

Laws are made by men to apply under most circumstances but here we witnessed the inefficiency of domestic forensic experts as raised by Dr Pornthip in her testimonial.

It is the confident level we are talking about, and justice to be served and seen instead of just served.

It is indeed sad but not surprising, but we shall all be reminded that without seeing justice served, our road to make this country a better place to live is still far, long, and obstacles ahead.

Malaysian Insider

Wednesday November 4, 2009

Coroner allows Teoh exhumation for fresh autopsy


By Debra Chong

SHAH ALAM, Nov 4 — The coroner’s court investigating Teoh Beng Hock’s mysterious death has allowed the exhumation of his body for a second autopsy to be attended by renowned Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand.

Dr Pornthip had earlier testified that the probable cause of Teoh’s death on July 16 was 80 per cent homicide and only 20 per cent suicide, contrary to testimony from local pathologists who had conducted the first post-mortem.

The DAP political aide was found dead at the 5th-floor roof outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Plaza Masalam, hours after he was questioned in an on-going probe into alleged abuse of state funds by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers.

Teoh’s family lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo, had presented the case for the exhumation during a hearing today and all present had agreed.

But MACC’s legal affairs director, Datuk Abdul Razak Musa, objected to Dr Pornthip carrying out the post-mortem.

“Dr Pornthip is not qualified under Malaysian laws,” he told the coroner’s court today.

The director-general of Thailand’s Central Institute of Forensic Science had graduated from Mahidol University, which is not among the 250 universities listed in the Medical Act 1971 as recognised by the federal government, he noted.

However, he did not object to her being present at the second autopsy.

Abdul Razak later told reporters that the MACC would hire its own independent medical expert to “audit” the findings.

The details of the exhumation and autopsy — where, when and the name of the medical officer who will carry it out — will be determined on Nov 9, said magistrate Azmil Munthapa Abas who is sitting as the coroner.

Speaking to reporters later, Gobind said the coroner’s order was a “compromise” because the Teohs failed to get their choice pathologist to perform the second autopsy.

He noted that the process to register the Thai forensic expert as a medical officer recognised under Malaysian law was complicated.

“Time is not on our side,” Gobind said.

Dr Pornthip had said a second autopsy must be carried out within six months of burial, or the natural decomposition of the body would affect findings, the lawyer noted.

“We’re now in the fifth month,” Gobind told reporters.

He also said the family still has prerogative to choose the medical officer who will perform the examination with Dr Pornthip present.

“At this point, we have no names yet,” he said.

Gobind also indicated that the second autopsy is likely to be held at the Serdang Hospital because it is the closest to where Teoh is buried at the Nirvana Memorial Garden in Semenyih.

He explained that the autopsy must be held immediately after the exhumation, as the body must be returned to its grave as soon as possible.

“The second post-mortem is to be carried out pursuant to the order by the coroner in the midst of an inquest.

“As such, it is safe to say that the second post-mortem is done at the behest of the magistrate who is the coroner,” the lawyer said, and noted that the cost will be borne by the federal government.

He added that Dr Pornthip has indicated she will be free to take part in the post-mortem on Nov 14.

She is due to attend a conference in Kuala Lumpur next week.

Teoh’s siblings, Meng Kee and Lee Lan, both attended today’s hearing and were disappointed Dr Pornthip would not be the main person conducting the post-mortem examination.

But they told reporters they would begin preparing for their brother’s body to be exhumed and will consult a fengshui expert for a suitable date to carry out a customary Chinese ceremony to honour the dead.

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