SHAH ALAM: Forensic pathologist Dr Shahidan Md Noor yesterday reiterated that the injuries found on Teoh Beng Hock were consistent with a fall.
The witness, however, said he could not rule out that pressure on the neck was exerted prior to the fall.
"Based on the overall injuries, Teoh died from the fall," he said when questioned by DPP Abdul Razak Musa, who is appearing for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
"The skeletal and organ injuries Teoh sustained suggests that he was also conscious when he fell."
(During the last proceedings on March 1, Dr Shahidan told the coroner's court that he could not rule out that Teoh was strangled and tortured prior to the fall. On Feb 19, Dr Shahidan testified that Teoh's cause of death was due to a fall).
Dr Shahidan said it was important for a pathologist to be briefed on the background of a case before conducting a post-mortem.
"This will help the pathologist decide how the person died," he said.
"In this case, a weapon was never referred to me to suggest he was beaten before he died.
"If Teoh was unconscious when he fell, the injuries he sustained would have been greater. There is nothing to suggest this."
In relation to the red marks found on Teoh's neck which was not mentioned in the first post-mortem report, Dr Shahidan said: "The red marks became more prominent after the first post-mortem was conducted.
"It was not mentioned in the first post-mortem report because the doctors who conducted it did not find any signs of asphyxia."
He, however, said there was pressure on the neck (before the fall) which caused the bruise, but it was not the cause of death.
"We are lucky that Teoh's body was well preserved. If not, we would not be able to make any finding," he said. (Teoh's body was exhumed four months after he was buried).
Teoh's first post-mortem was conducted by two forensic pathologists, Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim and Dr Prashant Naresh Samberkar on July 17, while Dr Shahidan, 50, conducted Teoh's second autopsy on Nov 22.
Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas ordered that Teoh's remains be exhumed for the second post-mortem following suggestion by Thai forensic pathologist, Dr Pornthip Rojanasunan, that there was foul play based on the injuries Teoh had suffered.
She had during earlier proceedings said Teoh could have had a blunt object forced into his anus, and had been strangled and beaten with a piece of wood before he died.
These findings, she told the coroner's court, were based on the autopsy report, the X-rays and photographs which were sent to her.
Yesterday, Dr Shahidan dismissed suggestions that a foreign object was inserted in Teoh's anus.
"Based on the position of the injury, the fractured sacrum bone was pushed out of his anus and during the fall, it had gone in again.
"This injury is a common feature (in fall from height) which could have been caused when Teoh fell."
Razak: Dr Pornthip had suggested that Teoh's fractured skull was caused by a blunt object. Can you explain this?
Dr Shahidan: In my opinion, the fractured skull was caused when he fell to the ground.
Razak also applied to the court to recall Dr Khairul and Dr Prashant, to allow them to defend their post-mortem report which was challenged.
Azmil said he wanted to hear evidence from the two international forensic pathologists first and would decide later if there was a need to recall Dr Khairul and Dr Prashant.
Dr Pornthip, who was appointed by the Selangor government and British forsenic pathologist Dr Peter Vanezis, for the MACC, were also present during the second post-mortem.
Azmil fixed April 20 for Dr Pornthip and April 26 and 27 for Dr Vanezis to testify on their findings.