Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pornthip: Teoh alive during fall, evidence of manual strangulation found on neck

April 02, 2011
Dr Pornthip (centre) attends the RCI into Teoh’s death, in Kuala Lumpur April 2, 2011. — Picture by Jack Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — Teoh Beng Hock was alive when he had fallen nearly ten floors, Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand told the royal panel investigating his death today.
But Dr Pornthip said she could not determine if the DAP political aide was conscious during his fatal plunge in 2009 outside the then Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam.
“He was alive on landing,” she told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) today.
Dr Pornthip also said Teoh’s state of consciousness could not be determined based on the fractures in his feet.
“Landing on (the) feet means nothing... I cannot go to that conclusion (that he was conscious when he fell),” said the flamboyant forensic expert.
Pornthip: Evidence of manual strangulation was found on Teoh's neck during first post mortem
By Tan Yi Liang
KUALA LUMPUR (April 2, 2011): Evidence of manual strangulation was found on the neck of Teoh Beng Hock in photographs of the first post mortem conducted on him.
This was the testimony of Thai pathology expert Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) investigating Teoh’s death.
Pornthip, who testified today, said her indication was a "thumb pressing on the neck," which she said created a "4x3cm contusion on the anterior left side of the neck."
Responding to questions from conducting officer Amarjeet Singh, she said she saw "handle bruises" on Teoh’s neck and contusions.
Pornthip said those round contusions were created with "a thumb and a finger".
These marks were contested by Amarjeet, who responded saying he only saw a "diffused pinkish patch."
Pornthip’s response that Amarjeet could not see the contusion as he "was not a doctor" drew laughter from the gallery.
Asked by Amarjeet as to why corresponding bruises were not found on the right side of Teoh’s neck, Pornthip said the absence might be due to the "intention of the person (causing the injury)".
Pornthip explained that this was an issue that had to be considered in cases of deaths in custody or "extrajudicial killings."
"In cases of falls from a height, this area is a protected area. In cases of deaths in custody or extrajudicial killings, we have to be aware of this," said Pornthip.
"Not all the injuries on the neck are compatible with a fall from a height due to a suicide," she said, adding that manual strangulation "is a pattern of injury we should be aware about."
To a question by RCI chairman Tan Sri James Foong, Pornthip said the strangulation did not cause Teoh’s death and dismissed a suggestion from Foong that Teoh was held in a neck hold.
"The bruising would be diffused," said Pornthip, who said another possibility was a round object pressing against Teoh’s neck.
Pornthip said a third possibility was Teoh’s neck being pressed or hit with a hard object, depending on the velocity of the object, adding that a hard hit could cause the bruise in 15 seconds.
Asked by Amarjeet about the lack of fractures to Teoh’s hyoid bone, Pornthip said not all strangulation would fracture the hyoid bone.
She said bleeding from a tear on Teoh’s aorta showed Teoh was alive when he landed on the fifth floor landing of Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam where his body was found on July 16, 2009.
To further questions from Amarjeet, Pornthip said she "could not determine" whether Teoh was unconscious or conscious when Teoh fell.
When asked by Foong if she could determine whether Teoh was conscious due to the fractures on the legs, Pornthip said she was unable to do so.
Asked by Bar Council lawyer T.Sivaneindiren about fractures on Teoh’s wrists, Pornthip said the fractures on Teoh’s wrists were not defensive injuries.
Pornthip said the cause was a "friction force with the ground" causing a "brush burn abrasion."
Asked about the cause of a skull fracture, Pornthip explained to Commissioner Datuk T. Selventhiranathan that in a case of transferred force, the brunt of the force would be absorbed by the spine.
Pornthip agreed with Foong that "injuries to the skull did not cause death."
However she disagreed that the fracture to the skull was due to transferred force.
Asked by Sivaneindiren, Pornthip said she had seen cases where fractures to the manubrium sterni were caused by someone jumping onto a chest.
She also agreed that cardiopulmonary resuscitation could also cause chest fractures if someone did not perform it properly.
Meanwhile, Negeri Sembilan Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) director Hishamuddin Hashim said answers given by Teoh at his interview were insufficient.
In testimony, Hishamuddin responded to questions from Bar Council lawyer Edmund Bon that Teoh’s replies to questions were "insufficient as investigations were at the initial stages."
Hishamuddin, the Selangor MACC deputy head at the time, responded to further questions from Bon, saying that the investigations on Teoh’s boss came to a dead end with Teoh’s death.
Teoh was a witness in investigations on his boss, Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah.
"Investigations came to a halt and the investigation papers were moved to the MACC HQ," said Hishamuddin.
He denied interviewing Teoh personally due to being upset and pressured as suggested by Bon, rejecting Bon’s statement as slander.
Hishamuddin added that it was a lie that he practised interrogation methods that involved grabbing the belt of the person being questioned, and that violence was practised by his officers.
To further questions from Bon, Hishamuddin said he had informed the then-Deputy Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed of the investigation on Yong at 2.30pm on July 16, 2009.
This was the day that Teoh’s body was found dead on a fifth floor landing of Plaza Masalam
The aide to Yong was called into the Selangor MACC’s 14th floor offices the previous evening as a witness in investigations on his boss.
-- theSun.

Updated: 04:05PM Sat, 02 Apr 2011

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