Beng Hock’s death not suicide, caused by ‘unknown’ persons and MACC, court rules

BY IDA LIM   SEPTEMBER 5, 2014

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Teoh Shuw Hoi, mother of Teoh Beng Hock, walks towards the courtroom while holding a portrait of her son in this file picture. The Court of Appeal unanimously ruled today that Teoh’s 2009 death was caused by the act of ‘persons or persons unknown’. — AFP pic

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 5 — The Court of Appeal unanimously ruled today that former DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock’s 2009 death was caused by the act of “persons or persons unknown”, including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers who had questioned him overnight before he was found dead.

Datuk Mah Weng Kwai said the magistrate in the Coroner’s Court and the High Court had erred by respectively giving an open verdict and upholding the verdict.

“We are of the view that the correct verdict to be returned in the inquest is caused by persons or persons unknown,” said Mah, the first judge to read out his judgement.

He ruled out the two other possible verdicts of suicide and death by misadventure.

The Court of Appeal was reviewing the decision by the Coroner’s Court in 2011, which had delivered an open verdict, ruling that Teoh’s death was not a homicide or a suicide.

The Court of Appeal panel is chaired by Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and includes Datuk Haji Hamid Sultan Abu Baker.

Government lawyer DPP Mohamad Abazafree Mohd Abbas and his colleague DPP Nadia Hanim Mohd Tajuddin had previously argued that coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas had acted correctly by delivering an open verdict on January 5, 2011.

At the end of the appeal hearing in May this year, Gobind reiterated his argument that the coroner ― by applying a lighter standard of proof ― would have been able to return a verdict of “death by homicide” or that MACC officers were “criminally concerned” in Teoh’s death.

On February 10, 2012, Teoh Meng Kee — Beng Hock’s elder brother ― filed an application at the Court of Appeal to review the open verdict delivered by the Coroner’s Court in 2011, after his application was rejected by the High Court on December 1, 2011.

Beng Hock’s family have been in and out of the courtrooms over the past five years, after the 30-year-old groom-to-be was found sprawled in a pool of his own blood on the fifth-floor landing of the Plaza Masalam building in Shah Alam on the morning of July 16, 2009, days before his wedding.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into Beng Hock’s death, chaired by now-retired Federal Court judge Tan Sri James Foong Cheng Yuen, later ruled on July 21, 2011 that it was a suicide.

In a separate case filed on October 30, 2012, four of Beng Hock’s family members — his father Teoh Leong Hwee, his mother Teng Shuw Hoi, his then fiancee Soh Cher Wei and his son Teoh Er Jia — are seeking damages for sadness, loss of dependency and negligence on the part of the MACC and 13 other defendants in his death.

The civil suit for negligence has been stayed pending today’s outcome at the Court of Appeal.

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/beng-hocks-death-not-suicide-caused-by-unknown-persons-and-macc-court-rules#sthash.dtprKE7e.dpuf

Court of Appeal reverses open verdict ruling in Teoh Beng Hock’s death
BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

Published: 5 September 2014

Coroner Azmil Muntapha on January 5, 2011 returned a verdict that Teoh Being Hock’s death was neither a suicide nor homicide. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 5, 2014.
Coroner Azmil Muntapha on January 5, 2011 returned a verdict that Teoh Being Hock’s death was neither a suicide nor homicide. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 5, 2014.
The Court of Appeal has set aside the open verdict by a coroner on the death of Teoh Beng Hock five years ago, ruling that “a person or persons were responsible for his death”.

Judges Datuk Mohamad Arif Md Yusof, Datuk Mah Weng Kwai and Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer delivered separate judgments.

Mah said the coroner and the High Court erred in law in applying the wrong standard of proof.

He said‎ it should be on the balance of probability and not beyond reasonable doubt, adding that a person or persons were responsible for his death.
This unprecedented verdict may force the police to reopen investigations into Teoh’s death.

Coroner Azmil Muntapha on January 5, 2011 returned a verdict that Teoh’s death was neither a suicide nor homicide.

The High Court on December 1, 2011 upheld that decision. – September 5, 2014.

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/court-of-appeal-reverses-finding-of-open-verdict-into-teoh-beng-hocks-death#sthash.JMBTYOvI.dpuf

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