Thursday, October 6, 2011

No judicial review for Teoh suicide verdict, court rules

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — The family of the late Teoh Beng Hock today failed to challenge the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s (RCI) conclusion that the Selangor DAP political aide committed suicide in 2009.

Teoh’s family filed the application for judicial review against the RCI on August 24.

The RCI, which was chaired by sitting Federal Court judge Tan Sri James Foong, found that Teoh had been driven to suicide after relentless questioning by investigators from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The five-man panel wrapped up its report on June 15 after hearing testimony from 70 witnesses in its bid to unravel the mysterious circumstances behind Teoh’s death at the then Selangor MACC headquarters on July 16, 2009.

Judge Datuk Rohana Yusof ruled today that an RCI could not be subject to a judicial review, as the court was bound by an earlier federal court decision.

Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, who is representing the Teoh family, told The Malaysian Insider the decision was made in chambers.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bol Hassan represented the RCI, whose commissioners were named as respondents.

“The judge’s decision was based on the federal court’s decision in Datuk V. K Lingam’s appeal, where they ruled that recommendations of the RCI are not subject to judicial review,” he said.

Gobind said the only option the family had right now is to challenge the federal court’s decision in Lingam’s case, but said that he was not sure whether they wanted to do that.

“There is still the revision application on the coroner’s open verdict, which will take place the day after tomorrow,” Gobind said.

Before the RCI was formed, a coroner’s inquest had in January returned an “open verdict” ruling out both suicide and homicide.

The lawyer had previously pointed out that there was no testimony on what happened to Teoh, between 3.30am and 7am on July 16, 2009, the crucial hours before he was found dead outside the then Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam.

Gobind had also questioned the lack of action against the three MACC officers whom the RCI said had pressured Teoh into committing suicide.

The MACC has suspended the officers pending internal investigations.

Teoh, 30, was found dead on July 16, 2009 on the fifth-floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam after he was questioned overnight by MACC officers at their then-Selangor headquarters on the 14th floor.

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