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Pornthip Pressured To Bow Out Of Teoh’s Inquest (April 11, 2010)

April 12, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010 at 12:05pm
EXCLUSIVE Renowned Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand will not be testifying at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest when it resumes hearing on April 20 citing “political pressure” from the Malaysian government.

Pornthip told Malaysiakini that she was “advised” by high-ranking officials from the Thai Justice Ministry – where she is director-general of the ministry’s Central Institute of Forensic Science – not to go to Malaysia next week for the inquest.

She said the Justice Ministry had received information from the Thai Foreign Ministry that she may face problems should she go, including the possibility of being stopped from entering the country.

According to her, the Thai Foreign Ministry had received “signals” from the Malaysian government through “informal channels” suggesting that her presence at the inquest later this month would not be welcomed.

“It was conveyed to me by certain senior Thai government officials that there has been political pressure from certain Malaysian government circles to block my presence in court, so much so that it might interfere with my current important forensic mission in southern Thailand.”

Not allowed to enter Kelantan

Pornthip, who is to testify on her findings of Teoh’s second post-mortem next Tuesday, said she was concerned that her involvement in the controversial inquest could impinge on her work in the three troubled southern Thailand provinces where thousands have died in a Muslim separatist insurgency.

Part of her on-going forensic work involved the need to go to Kelantan to investigate a case related to the killings in southern Thailand. According to Pornthip, she had tried to obtain permission to enter Kelantan in January this year.

“But I was unable to do so after a ‘signal’ from the authorities forbidding me from crossing the Thai-Malaysian border,” she claimed.

Pornthip lamented that she is being forced to choose between the Teoh inquest and her forensic mission in southern Thailand.

“I have been committed to the forensic pathological science for a long time, and have always taken full responsibility for the missions that were assigned to me. It had been my intention to follow the inquest into the death of the late Teoh Beng Hock to the end,” said Pornthip.

However, she said that her involvement in the Teoh case has now apparently jeopardised her work in southern Thailand.

“Given that our well-intended assistance in the Teoh case has now turned into a political issue, I have no choice but to choose my work in south Thailand,” she said.

In 2004, Pornthip led the forensic team which investigated the infamous Tak Bai incident where 85 Muslim protesters had suffocated to death while being held in military trucks.

Her hands are tied.

Being a Thai civil servant, the 54-year-old pathologist said her hands were tied.

Pornthip was requested to help in the Teoh inquest by the Selangor government and she is offering her expertise in a government-to-government arrangement between Bangkok and Shah Alam.

“If I was not a civil servant, I might decide to see this through to the very end. But in reality, I have an obligation to follow the Thai government’s instruction.”

She expressed regret of having to decide not to testify.

“From my experience, sometimes there is a limit as to how far we can go to bring about justice,” decried the flamboyant forensic scientist who is famous for her multi-coloured frizzy hairdo.

The inquest, which began in August last year, has been tasked to look investigate Teoh’s cause of death.

Teoh, the 30-year-old political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, had been summoned to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam to be quizzed over irregularities in the disbursement of state funds on July 15, 2009.

He was found dead the following day on the fifth floor service corridor of the building.

Pornthip stands by her opinion.

Pornthip said that she first sensed trouble when on Jan 1, a MACC officer lodged a police report against her for allegedly leaking Teoh’s second post-mortem report.

Faced with the possibility of arrest on her arrival in Kuala Lumpur, she hinted that she might decline to testify. Following that, both the Malaysian attorney-general and police chief cleared her of any wrongdoing and assured her safety.

Pornthip had participated in the second post-mortem after Teoh’s body was exhumed last November in the wake of her explosive testimony – based on photos taken from the first post-mortem – that the deceased could have been strangled before falling from the MACC building.

The second post-mortem was done by Dr Shahidan Md Noor, the head pathologist from the Sungai Buloh Hospital, in the presence of Pornthip, representing the Selangor government, and Dr Peter Venezis, the British pathologist hired by MACC.

Shahidan had since testified last month that based on the second post-mortem, it was not possible Teoh was strangled, while Venezis is to testify on April 26 and 27.

Asked about her views regarding the second post-mortem, she said: “All the forensic doctors involved conceded that there was a bruise around Teoh’s neck, which was not mentioned in the first post-mortem until this was pointed out by me and my team.

“Each doctor (in the second post-mortem) has his or her own opinion regarding the cause of the bruise, and I respect their opinion. As for me, I stand by mine.”

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/128849

TBH INQUEST 19.02.2010 ~ Gov’t pathologist disputes Pornthip’s findings/今公布第二份验尸报告

Gov’t pathologist disputes Pornthip’s findings
The Teoh Beng Hock inquest resumed today with the pathologists who conducted the second post-mortem disagreeing over the possible cause of death of the political aide.

Sungai Buloh hospital resident pathologist Dr Shahidan Md Noor, the person who performed the second autopsy on Teoh, took the stand today and told the inquest that he disputed the suggestion of another pathologist that there was a manual strangulation injury on the neck of the deceased.

Shahidan had performed the autopsy in November under the watchful eyes of Selangor government-appointed pathologist, Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission-appointed Dr Peter Venezis.

Pornthip, a director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science in Bangkok, which is part of the Thailand’s Justice Ministry, had taken the stand late last year when she revealed that the political aide’s death was 80 percent homicide.

Shahidan also disagreed with Pornthip that there was force imposed on the anal region of the deceased.

Pornthip has earlier testified that the injuries in the anal region did not appear to be caused by the fall but by the penetration of an external object.

This morning, Shahidan told the inquest that he was reluctant to perform the second post-mortem as requested by Tricia Yeoh from the Selangor Menteri Besar’s office and lawyer Teoh family lawyer Gobind Singh Deo.

Shahidan said he asked the duo to write to the Health Ministry. On Nov 9, he got a call from deputy public prosecutor Mohd Abazafree Mohd Abbas ordering him to perform the post-mortem.

He said Pornthip and Venezis, along with the two pathologists who performed the first post-mortem were present when the autopsy was carried out.

The post-mortem began at 12.45pm on Nov 22, and finished two hours later.

Referring to the post-mortem report, Shahidan said there was bruising at the thyroid of the deceased.

There was also a permanent blood clot at the back of tongue near the neck, as well as bleeding on right side of brain and on the right side at the back of brain.

The pathologist described his external examination of the body as he answered questions by government-appointed lawyer Tan Hock Chuan.

Shahidan told the inquest that scratch marks were found on Teoh’s left hand.

However, he said that the cause of death was from multiple injuries as a result of fall from a high place. He added that the injuries found on Teoh’s neck was due to the fall.

Immediately after Shahidan’s testimony, the judge said the inquest would resume on March 1 where the pathologist will be cross-examined by lawyers representing Teoh family and Selangor government.

Both Pornthip and Venezis to testify later.

Pornthip is also expected to tabled her findings along with Venezis, the famed pathologist involved with investigations into Princess Diana’s death at a later date.
Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas ordered the second autopsy on Nov 9 following Pornthip’s startling revelation.

Teoh died on July 16, after being interrogated by MACC officers at its Selangor headquarters in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam. While the official version is that the DAP political aide fell to his death, his family have however alleged foul play.

Following the second autopsy, Suara Keadilan had two months ago indicated that the cause of death to be homicide.

However, MACC officers lodged a police report alleging Pornthip had leak her reports to the media, resulting in the possibility that Thailand’s most famous pathologist may refuse to testify.

This led to attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail stepping in to clear Pornthip of any wrongdoing.

However, Teoh’s family lawyers – Karpal Singh and Gobind Singh Deo – wanted the MACC officer who lodged the report be cited for contempt.

A proceeding was initiated but in the end, the coroner decided not to haul in the officer, Raub Ghani, for contempt.

Lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who is representing the Selangor government, has confirmed that Pornthip will be testifying.

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/124633

今公布第二份验尸报告,普缇同意返马上庭供证
明福验尸庭今日续审,双溪毛糯医院法医科学鉴证部主任沙希旦 医生被传召上庭公布第二分验尸报告的内容。

而协助沙希旦解剖的泰国法医普缇及反贪会代表法医彼德瓦内预 料也将会供证。

赵家是在去年11月21日同意开棺验尸,而沙希旦则于隔天 (22日)在双溪毛糯医院进行第二次解剖。不过第二份验 尸报告并未如期在12月19日提呈予验尸庭,反之一再因 为普缇和彼德瓦内未能完成撰写报告及两名反贪会官员报警 举报普缇泄漏报告内容,导致审讯一波三折,一再展延至今日。

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/124646

Watch this clip:
MACC Downfall Parody
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZPjz-WdCbE

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