[UPDATED] Teoh Beng Hock: The Verdict In A Nutshell


The Coroner in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest delivered his much anticipated verdict on 5th January 2010. Here is a summary of the Verdict. The full verdict can be downloaded here (sourced via YB Teo Nie Ching’s blog).

UPDATED A smaller sized PDF version of the Verdict is at TBH Inquest Coroner Written Verdict.

The Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) Inquest was held to investigate the death of TBH on 16 July 2009.

At the Inquest, these facts emerged:-

TBH was interviewed at the Selangor State Government building in the afternoon of 15 July 2009 by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). He was then asked by MACC officers to follow them to the Selangor MACC Office at Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam on the same day. On 16 July 2009, about 1 o’ clock in the afternoon, TBH’s body was discovered at the service corridor of Plaza Masalam.

The judge in such an Inquest is called a Coroner. The Coroner in these Inquests will try to ascertain how a person died. The Coroner may conclude that the deceased was killed or the death was accidental. In some instances, the Coroner may conclude that it was suicide.

On 5 January 2011, the Coroner in the TBH Inquest delivered his verdict and made the following conclusions:-

1. Was it suicide?

The Coroner first considered if TBH had committed suicide. The Coroner ruled suicide out.

He felt that the testimony provided by TBH’s brother, Teoh Meng Kee revealed that TBH was supposed to get married and had no psychological illness. Further, the so-called suicide note was inconclusive. The Coroner pointed out that the said note has not been ascertained to contain TBH’s handwriting. Secondly, no sample of TBH’s writing was obtained for purposes of investigation and examination.

The Coroner also pointed out that no psychiatrist report was provided on TBH’s state of mind. On this evidence, the Coroner felt that if he was to conclude suicide as the cause of death, it would have been a form of guess work.

He refused to do so and ruled out suicide as mentioned above.

2. Was there homicide?

The Coroner referred to the evidence provided by the medical experts at the Inquest. He concluded that there exists sufficient evidence to confirm that TBH suffered a pre-fall injury. The pre-fall injury was the neck injury. However, the Coroner felt that there was lack of evidence to confirm that the neck injury facilitated, resulted or contributed to the demise of TBH.

The Coroner also took into account the medical evidence that the neck injury most likely caused TBH to be in such a state that would render TBH incapable of exiting the window on his own. The medical evidence suggests that the neck injury on TBH may have rendered him unconscious or in a state of confusion. Apparently the neck injury could have caused a reduction in the level of oxygen reaching the brains of TBH.

However the Coroner felt the evidence before him was not sufficient beyond reasonable doubt for him to find that there was a homicide.

3. Verdict

As such, the Coroner felt that the only decision that he can come to is a finding of an Open Verdict. An Open Verdict would mean that the cause of death cannot be determined in the Inquest.

Richard Wee (@ric_wee) was part of the team of lawyers who held a watching brief for the Malaysian Bar at the Inquest, ably assisted by his pupil  Yip Xiaoheng (@xiaohengyip).

Tags: , ,

Posted on 6 January 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

Read more articles posted by Richard Wee and Yip Xiaoheng.

Read this first: LB Terms of Use

5 Responses to [UPDATED] Teoh Beng Hock: The Verdict In A Nutshell

  1. Lau

    The super long inquest at the end did establish that THB did suffer pre-fall injury to his neck to the extend that it rendered him unconscious or in a state of confusion.

    Now the problem I have with that is… why the heck is he exposed to that type of cruel treatment when he is only a witness? Can you imagine the fear of being called in by MACC or PDRM by any member of the general public now?

  2. Wong CF

    TBH inquest established a very important FACT that TBH suffered PRE-FALL injury on the neck, while in MACC custody

    Shouldn't anyone be responsible for the PRE-FALL injury while in custody irrespective whether it caused death or not?

  3. SETIA

    There must be a Royal Inquiry to ascertain who kill Beng Hock. Too many have died at the hands of evil men who have also damaged M'sia reputation around the world.

    Beng Hock, Aminulrasyid,kugan and many more who died in suspicious circumstances under the care of the Polis /Authorities must not be allowed to die in vain.

    Justice for all of them and we desperately need Reform !

  4. Pang

    Open Verdict means Teoh Beng Hock was killed by Malaysia. We're all guilty.

    Some days I feel like Teoh Beng Hock: living in Malaysia is like dying without killing yourself or being killed.

    Aminulrasyid. Kugan. Teoh Beng Hock.

    Malaysia kills.

  5. boonkeat

    What I find amusing (or rather annoying) is, when I read news on our national newspapers. It goes on and on in circle, like a benggali setting up a turban, like a recorded cassette from yesteryear stuck on replay mode. It will mention all the already familiar names, the victim Teoh Beng Hock, and as usual the past coroners, Dr. Pornothip and Dr Venenzis, the mourning girlfriend and sister of Teoh Beng Hock and the hopeless coroner Azmil Mustapha Abas. I read about our famous advocator, Karpal Singh. And as always like a template of previous report used again and again, it mention Teoh’s boss, the Seri Kembangan assemblymen and state exco, Ean Yong Hian Wah. I don’t know where is Seri Kembangan (I suspect it is next to the Zoo Negara) and I don’t know how this piece of information relate to this case at this point of time. What did Ean Yong do that the newspaper has to mention him every time they cover this story? Is there a cloud of suspicion around Ean Yong for causing the death of his own staff? The same goes with the coverage of the high profile foreign coroners. Is this a new tv series, CSI:Sri Kembangan? If it is, the rating must be suffering big time, because the story is just too unbelievable.

    These so called national newspapers failed to mention what matters the most in a case of an unnatural death (now that it is neither suicidal nor homicidal). The very basic question, who is the suspicious culprit(s)? Who is the person responsible of detaining the victim? MACC is not a person, it is an organization, it cannot kill Teoh. There are real people in that MACC office. Who is the person in charge of that 14th floor of Selangor MACC office on the day of his death? Lets forget about politics for a moment and concentrate on justice (and humour). Lets not be too ambitious as to bring down the whole MACC let alone the government. Lets start small. Who sits in the 14th floors? If there is an office, there must be office staff, office manager, office boy, cleaner and the most important of all, the toilet lady. Lets start by interviewing and reporting the story of the toilet lady. Did she hear or see anything unusual on that day or was it just another usual beating up session in that office? Did she clean up the toilet after Teoh had a pee? How many times Teoh had toilet break during his beat up session? Has the ghost of Teoh come back and haunt that toilet since? Who knows what evidence might surface from there, it could be an accident after all; the toilet lady forgot to close the window the night before 16th July 2009, and the cleaner left a block of soap on the floor, the rest I leave it to your imagination. In that case we don’t need expert CSI forensic, all we need is for Mr. Columbo to take a look at 14th floor of Selangor MACC office.

    I could have been made to believe Teoh cekik himself and then throwed himself down the Petronas Twin Tower if the media had not been so cautious and shy in reporting this news. The fact that these government own newspaper has been so timid has raised suspicion of cover up on its own. So, Mr Editor of ‘you know which newspaper’, if you read this, shame on you. Hold on tight to your job while it last. When the new government come marching in next GE, you might find yourself cleaning the toilet on the 14th floor of Selangor MACC office.