Rick Todd (2nd L) and his wife Mary (L) walk out of court in Singapore on May 21, 2013. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)
SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Foreign Affairs and Law Minister, K Shanmugam, says it is unfortunate and regrettable that the Todd family have decided to walk out on the coroner’s inquiry into Shane Todd’s death.
American researcher Shane Todd was found hanged in his Chinatown apartment last June.
His parents believed he was murdered because of his work at the Singapore Institute of Microelectonics. Dr Todd’s family claimed that his death was related to a project between the institute and Chinese telecoms giant, Huawei Technologies.
The inquiry started on May 13, but on Wednesday Dr Todd’s family said they will not be participating in the rest of the inquiry, a day after their key witness – US medical examiner Dr Edward Adelstein – gave his testimony.
Speaking at a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday evening, Mr Shanmugam noted that the family had said last week that they were happy with the way the court inquiry was proceeding and that they liked the judge and liked how he was proceeding.
They had also said they had faith in the Singapore court system.
During the news conference, the minister noted that Dr Adelstein had changed his original testimony and confirmed that Dr Todd was not killed by garrotting.
The medical examiner had also gone on to speculate how Dr Todd could have been murdered, noted Mr Shanmugam.
Minister Shanmugam stressed that the objective of the inquiry is to establish the full facts surrounding the death of Dr Todd and the State is committed to presenting all evidence, including all relevant evidence which the Todd family wish to present.
Mr Shanmugam said: “It would have been useful if the family had continued (to participate in the inquiry). I will mention two facts which the family’s evidence would have been particularly useful.
- “A key point, which had been made previously, was that the family had said that they found the external hard drive themselves in the apartment and they asserted that this hard drive had been processed by a third party after Dr Todd’s death and that hard drive contained important information which had been overlooked by the Singapore Police.
- “Evidence has come out that that hard drive was something which the police had looked at and something the police handed over to the family in the presence of US Embassy officials.
- “It would have been useful to hear the family’s side as to how they came to a different view of the facts. It’s unfortunate that they don’t take part. This particular assertion, which formed the key part of the conspiracy theory, cannot be tested.
- “Second, by reference to Mr Luis, the family had said that neither they nor Dr Todd’s girlfriend knew Mr Montes. But Montes confirmed in his testimony today that he had actually met his parents in their hotel room along with some other close friends days after Dr Todd was found dead.
- “Again this direct conflict of evidence could have been better looked at if the family had chosen to come to court to give their testimony.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Dr Todd’s family walked out of the hearing.
- They were unhappy with what they claimed was a surprise appearance of a witness – Mr Luis Alejandro Andro Montes – who is said to have seen Dr Todd the day before he was found hanged.
The family added that they only received Mr Montes’ recorded statement on Tuesday morning, and had not been given sufficient time to prepare.
Senior State Counsel Tai Wei Shyong had told the court that he had – in his opening statement last Monday – said that the State intended to call Mr Montes as a witness and had been trying to make arrangements for him to attend the inquiry as he was not in Singapore.
Comments from the net :
- We all face our trials and tribulations. Grief does not give one the Carte Blanche to make wild accusations against public officials doing their jobs. Mr Shanmuggam was diplomatic probably in his capacity as Foreign Affairs Minister.
- Sad to say that the TRUTH is unbearable for them to accept. I m PROUD of our police investigators and judicial System.
- Feel sorry for the Todd families as they are unable to accept the evidence they witnessed this week;…….. But Singaporeans cannot accept the politicking from the Todd families, including defaming our judicial system. Having follow the inquiries, we are indeed proud that our judicial system is top of the class. In any case, hope the Todd families will find closure moving forward.
- We should sympathise with their loss. But at the same time, we should present all the evidence & not let baseless allegations go unchallenged. Indeed let the international court of public opinion run its course.
- The Todd family showed utter disrespect and contempt for our judicial system. The govt has been too accommodating to them in my view. Also, the media is giving them undue publicity. This is one instance which I wish the govt could be firmer in tone rather than sounding sorry. Come on, their case collapsed as soon as it begun.
- It is regrettable as the Todds’s view of events that transpired is different from the view presented by the Singapore Police Force. The only way to know the difference in views is for the Todds to present their views in court during the inquiry.
- Hoping that the Todds will be able to get professional help in grief counselling who will enable them to process their thoughts and work through their emotions when they return home.
- This is their son’s inquiry, and they choose to walk out of it.