Prominent Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, a vital witness in the Teoh inquest, has been cleared by the attorney-general of any wrongdoing in allegedly leaking her second autopsy report.
This was told to coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas (left) at the inquest today by lawyer Tan Hock Chuan, who is appearing for the AG's Chamber, in the inquiry to look into Teoh Beng Hock's cause of death.
"The investigation papers were given to AG's Chambers yesterday afternoon and AG Abdul Gani Patail personally looked into the matter. He wants me to reveal today that Dr Pornthip is cleared of any wrongdoing."
"There is no charge to be levelled against Dr Pornthip," he said.
He also added that the police too had found that Pornthip had not committed any offence.
Tan said this follows a statement by Inspector General Police Musa Hassan, who also cleared the famous pathologist, had said the police were not investigating her.
“The IGP said the police are not out to arrest or intimidate Dr Pornthip. The authorities are merely investigating Suara Keadilan. Hence the pathologist can come and give her testimony.”
The controversy over Pornthip's (right) alleged role in leaking the post mortem report arose after a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer lodged a police report against the forensic expert on Jan 1.
The MACC officer, Raub Ghani, had lodged the report over an article in Suara Keadilan which had quoted a Health Ministry official that Pornthip had confirmed murder was the cause of death of political aide Teoh.
Teoh's family questioned the decision by Raub to have lodged the police report against the Thai expert and had filed an application to commit the officer for contempt.
Teoh, 30, was found dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam after he had given a statement as a witness on alleged misuse of allocations for state assemblymen in Selangor, at the MACC office located on the 14th floor of the same building on July 16 last year.
Insult levelled against Karpal
Meanwhile, the application to commit Raub for contempt also saw fiery exchanges between lawyer Karpal Singh, appearing for the Teoh family, and MACC's lawyer Abdul Razak Musa over an insensitive remark made by the latter.
The matter started when Karpal during his submission alleged several times that Teoh's death was a result of murder and accusing the MACC for brutally murdering the political aide.
“Teoh was under the responsibility of the MACC officers and MACCC were responsible for the incident. Now Raub must also be cited for contempt and be investigated and imprisoned for lodging the police report.”
Karpal wanted the cognisance of this and the action by Raub showed he was a dishonest person and a person without integrity.
During Karpal's submission, Abdul Razak Musa rose twice to object the senior counsel's objection of murder.
In the midst of their argument, Abdul Razak said: "I can sit down but Karpal cannot stand up."
This resulted in exchanges between Abdul Razak, lawyer Gobind Singh Deo and Karpal, with Gobind calling the MACC lawyer a scoundrel.
Karpal then sought the coroner's approval to cite Abdul Razak for contempt for ridiculing his (Karpal's) physical condition of being confined to a wheelchair.
The application was supported by lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who is representing the Selangor government.
Contempt against Abdul Razak
Abdul Razak then said that him being a “gentleman” was withdrawing the remark and apologised to Karpal.
“Karpal is my friend and in fact I was among the first to visit him after he suffered the accident,” he said.
Abdul Razak, was formerly the Penang state legal advisor while Karpal, who was then the Bukit Jelutong MP suffered the accident which left the veteran parliamentarian wheel chair bound.
Karpal said what Abdul Razak uttered was an insult to a disabled person.
“What he said was not quite an apology, as what he said is insincere,” he said
“I want him to be cautioned and discharged (remove himself),” he said.
Azmil Muntapha then had adjourned the session for 30 minutes before deciding on Karpal's application.
Karpal also told the coroner that he would be continuing with his application to cite Raub for contempt despite the AG's decision to clear Pornthip.
Let off with a warning
When the court resumed, coroner Azmil Muntapha decided to warn Abdul Razak against repeating his offensive remarks.
"There are elements of contempt, but an apology has been made. Hence, it does not fall within the premise of contempt and I therefore cautioned Abdul Razak."
Earlier, Karpal demanded that Abdul Razak be punished with a RM150 fine and one day's jail, or a one day's jail.
Meanwhile, lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who is representing the Selangor government, told the court that the MACC lawyer had committed a “misconduct of the highest nature” and that the Bar Council and the Selangor Bar supported the contempt application.
The inquest will continue next Friday with the contempt application against Raub being heard.
Azmil then fixed Jan 22 for hearing on Karpal's contempt application
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