Pornthip may not get the chance

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Local law says only a government doctor can conduct post-mortem
Monday, November 2nd, 2009 04:44:00

GobindIT looks like “Dr Death” cannot conduct Teoh Beng Hock’s second post-mortem under Malaysia’s Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

The CPC states that the post-mortem examination of a body is to be undertaken by a government medical officer and forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand — brought in from Thailand by the Selangor government as an expert witness in Teoh’s death inquest — does not fall under this category.

A court hearing on the application to exhume Teoh’s body — and to allow Dr Pornthip to conduct the post-mortem on Teoh — has been fixed for Nov 4.

Dr Pornthip dropped a bombshell a few weeks ago when she told the court that Teoh’s death was 80 per cent homicide and 20 per cent suicide, based on photographs that were given to her.

Counsel Gobind Singh Deo, who is holding a watching brief for Teoh’s family, believes it will not be much of a problem if Dr Pornthip is not allowed to conduct the autopsy.

“If Pornthip is not allowed to conduct the post-mortem, she can still supervise the post-mortem and provide instructions to officers who are conducting it,” Gobind told Malay Mail.

“However, I believe there are ways around this law and we will be looking into these. It can be resolved,” he added.

On suggestions that Dr Pornthip’s eventual findings would be biased, as she was engaged by the Selangor government, Gobind dismissed that notion.

“Whatever her findings are following the second post-mortem that she is about to conduct, it will be backed up by photographic evidence,” Gobind said. “This will ensure the independence of her findings.”

Gobind also said that he had already made it known that he proposed for the two pathologists — who conducted the first post-mortem on Teoh — to be present during Dr Pornthip’s post-mortem.

“This is to eliminate the possibility of even more post-mortem in the future, and hopefully also to put finality and closure to the matter,” he added.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE

PART VIII — SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS CHAPTER XXXII — INQUIRIES OF DEATHS

Section 330. Duty of officer to arrange for post-mortem examination in certain cases.

“Every officer making an investigation under section 329 shall, if there appears to him any reason to suspect that the deceased came by his death in a sudden or unnatural manner or by violence or that his death resulted in any way from or was accelerated by any unlawful act or omission on the part of any other person, at once inform the nearest Government Medical Officer and, unless it appears to him that the body should be viewed by a Magistrate in situ, shall take or send the body to the nearest government hospital or other convenient place for the holding of a post-mortem examination of the body by a Government Medical Officer.” – MalayMail