Teoh Inquest: Witness' choice of language questioned

SHAH ALAM, Tues: Gobind Singh Deo, the lawyer who is holding a watching brief for Teoh Beng Hock's family, today questioned the action of a forensics expert witness who gave evidence in Bahasa Melayu in the inquest headed by coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas here.

Gobind Singh said the witness, Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim, 51, senior consultant at the Forensics Department of the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR), Klang, should give his evidence in English as the his post-mortem report was in that language.

Other then Gobind Singh, the matter was also raised by lawyer Rajpal Singh, who is holding a watching brief for the Bar Council and the lawyer for the Selangor givernment, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, on the sixth day of the inquest.

Gobind Singh said several pieces of important information in the report were not stated by Dr Khairul Azman when giving evidence in Bahasa Melayu.

"Another forensic expert, Dr Prashant Naresh Samberkar, will give evidence in English so we ask the witness to speak in English or we ask the court to advise the witness (that if he wants to speak in Bahasa Melayu) to provide accurate evidence based on the post-mortem report," he said.

Lawyer Tan Hock Chuan, appointed by the government to assist in the inquest, said there was no issue if the witness wanted to give evidence in Bahasa Melayu as the post-mortem report had been marked as evidence and a copy given all sides.

"I admit the witness had left out certain information contained in the post-mortem report but he has nothing to hide. It is up to him to speak in Bahasa Melayu or not," he said.

Rajpal Singh said if Dr Khairul Azman had prepared the report in English and if he wanted to speak in Bahasa Melayu he would have to translate the seven-page report.

Malik Imtiaz said the witness was not forced to speak in English but if needed he should give evidence in English on the most important parts.

Tan then said based on Section Eight of the National Language Act the witness had the right to choose the language.

Azmil Muntapha on hearing the arguments asked Dr Khairul Azman to choose and if he wanted to speak in Bahasa Melayu he was to provide detailed clarification based on his report. -- Bernama

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