Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) prosecutor Abdul Razak Musa left lawyers and the public gallery alternately bemused and frustrated as he cross-examined a Thai forensics expert at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest today.
At the same time, Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand stood her ground despite his incessant attacks on her expertise, observations and conclusions on the death of the DAP political aide in July last year.
Her unequivocal responses quickly prompted legal department head Abdul Razak to ask if she had come to “to attack the MACC".
Pornthip calmly said: "I am here to defend the rights of the dead. Not for the Selangor government or anyone."
The forensic expert received so many rounds of applause from those in the public gallery for her comebacks, that an announcement had to be made for those present to maintain decorum.
Pornthip was cross-examined after she told coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas she found no evidence to suggest suicide by Teoh.
Abdul Razak railed at her from the onset by raising doubts about her credibility as an expert witness.
"Did you know that the university that you graduated from is not recognised in Malaysia?" he asked, eliciting disgruntled murmurs from the gallery.
To that, Pornthip answered, "But it is in the top five in Asia."
Unsatisfied, Abdul Razak (left) sought to discredit her by claiming that she had "moved the goalposts" because what she said this morning had 'contradicted' her earlier testimony.
(Her testimony today was based on observation of a second post-mortem, while her initial conclusions were based on a report on the first post-mortem.)
Pornthip refuted Abdul Razak, saying she had conclusively answered the possibilities raised in her first testimony through scientific evidence obtained in the second autopsy.
"The other doctors made a mistake," she said, noting that there were procedures which should have been made but were not undertaken during the first autopsy.
Abdul Razak next had the gallery groaning in disbelief when he suggested that Teoh had strangled himself and was "depressive".
Interestingly, when asked by Gobind Singh Deo (right), who is representing Teoh's family, how someone can strangle himself, the MACC representative went as far as to demonstrate this on himself.
If that was not enough, Abdul Razak riled up those in the gallery further by suggesting to Pornthip that her report was"based on her imagination".
In an effort to make his point, he asked if Pornthip has any experience jumping off a building.
Exasperated by the barrage of provocative questions Malik Imtiaz Sarwar - representing Pornthip and the Selangor government - stood up to say: “With questions like these, we would all want to jump off a building.”
Abdul Razak also got his facts muddled, prompting Pornthip to repeatedly ask him to "remind (himself) of her report" and to "read the report".
But the lawyer was adamant, claiming he had "spent three days reading" the 11-page report.
His mix-ups led to representatives of the Bar Council and coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas to step in, to correct him.
Glaringly, the lawyer quizzed Pornthip on why she said Teoh was dead when he fell off Level 14, (where the MACC office is located in Plaza Masalam) but alive when he hit the landing on Level 5.
"I accept that he was alive. I never said that he was dead," said Pornthip who has offered her services on a pro bono basis.
Visibly amused, the coroner stepped in to clarify that issue was whether Teoh was conscious or otherwise, not if he was dead or alive. This was to no avail as Abdul Razak remained bewildered.
He then puzzled the court when he stated, "If (Teoh) was unconscious, his body would be heavier."
Retorted the pathologist: "There would be no difference. Scientifically, how could weight loss happen according to consciousness?"
Tired of explaining to Abdul Razak, who accused her of having "already made up her mind (against suicide)", Pornthip finally answered that she disagrees with his comments.
The court's amusement turned into frustration towards the end of Abdul Razak's line of questioning.
Members of the public sighed loudly when he finally wrapped up - and one even bellowed "Thank you!".
As his driver moved the car forward, it 'nudged' a Teoh supporter twice, as he tried to prevent the vehicle from leaving.