Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teoh Beng Hock’s Death – Was investigation professionally done?

Although the death of comrade Teoh Beng Hock was given wide news coverage in the last few days, but, one thing that was a mystery was the low key investigation conducted by the police and or by the relevant authorities. If later on that it be announced that Teoh Beng Hock committed suicide, then, the public will have a right to condemn the investigation as a cover-up operation by the BN government. Such a high profile case should be given a very transparent investigation and the public should not be left guessing and speculating what actually had led to Teoh Beng Hock’s death or what went on with the investigation.

From what went on in the news, it seems that the police had failed to follow the international police practice of immediately sealing off Wisma Masalam and its surrounding areas. At least from the 14th floor housing the offices of MACC down to the 5th floor of Wisma Masalam where the body was found should have been sealed. It was not known whether this was done. The need to seal off a scene of crime for the purpose of investigation was always necessary to prevent possible tampering of evidence by people who may come in contact with the scene of crime. At the same time, all equipment used in the interrogation and investigation including office all investigation papers, diaries and logbooks should have been immediately seized.

Simultaneously, all personal vehicles and houses of MACC officers who were involved in the arrest and interrogation of Teoh Beng Hock should be seized and searched for evidence so that nothing should be left to chance to escape from the net during investigation. So far, nothing was heard had been done.

I would suggest that if anything goes wrong with the investigation for lack of thoroughness where evidence could have been collected, but, negligently not collected, the police officers conducting the investigation should be held responsible and be brought to justice.

The police should re-construct how Teoh Beng Hock had fallen if he was to have committed suicide. This will also help determine whether or not foul play was involved giving the fact that the window from which he purported fell or thrown out could only open just 45 degrees wide. Such an opening for a person of medium size could hardly afford an easy passage to go out of the window without hitting any mark to the window or without having his body injured in the process. We should not only be concern as to why Teoh Beng Hock had fell, but, should also be concern as how and when Teoh Beng Hock fell if not being pushed down alive.

It was also observed from the pictures shown in local tabloids that the window was at least four feet high and in such circumstances, it was not easy for a person to climb up unassisted or if with nothing on the glass wall to hold on. To avoid further allegation or suspicion of cover up, the police should have call foreign forensic pathologists to assist in the investigation. This is because it is doubtful that Malaysia has such an expert that could assist in this kind of investigation involving deaths that fell from high rise buildings as in Malaysia cases of such nature are not many for local forensic experts to develop their skill and experience.

I hereby also urge the police to get the assistance of the FBI and Scotland Yard to at lest assist in crime scene investigation. At the same time, this would avoid the suspicion of tampering of evidence or cover up by the government. There is also nothing wrong for our Malaysian Police to seek their assistance in this high profile case. In a recent missing girl case who could have been raped and murdered, FBI was called in to assist.

Although the police said that the autopsy report showed that Teoh Beng Hock died of multiple injuries due to a fall, but, this could not be taken as conclusive proof of how he could have died. In law, such autopsy report shows strong proof, but, not conclusive proof of cause of death.

The public needs to be informed that a person could have been assaulted and be injured by the assault, but, injuries caused to the victim could be difficult to detect if the interrogator or assailant knows the technique of how to do it. The victim could tolerate injuries but could not withstand the pain caused to his body. The private part and areas near to the heart are two most vital areas where excruciating pain could easily be caused with very little force, yet injuries to these parts would be difficult to be detected. Once caused, not only there could there be pain, but, at the same time this could lead to shock and cardial arrest which can cause immediate death to the victim. Therefore, death could be caused to a victim first, even, before the body could be thrown out from a total building and when landed on the floor multiple injuries to the body would definitely be caused. This will then show that the victim had died from a fall, but, in actual fact had died even before his body was found on the floor.

The government should on this case set up a Royal Commission to investigation this case with the help of foreign experts including FBI and Scotland Yard so as to dispel fear of impartiality.

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