The inquest into the death of Cheah Chin Lee, a furniture shop sales assistant, will be held on Aug 12 and 13 -- exactly a year after his death in police custody.
The inquest, which was supposed to begin at the coroner's court here yesterday and last until Friday, had to be deferred to the new dates after M. Visvanathan, the counsel holding a watching brief for the deceased's family, informed the court that he had been admitted to hospital from July 6 to 12.
Coroner L. Umma Devi said in court that it was earlier agreed that the inquest would proceed for four days from yesterday.
"The court had blocked out these dates for the inquest. However, the counsel faxed over a medical certificate to the court yesterday (Monday) afternoon, which was a public holiday.
"The conducting officers, on the other hand, were only informed at 8.15am today of counsel's inability to come. The court has no choice but to fix new dates for the inquest."
She thanked the 17 witnesses, comprising policemen and the public, who came to court to testify. Present were Cheah's mother, Lim Gaik Suan, 67, uncle, E.Y. Cheah, in his 60s, and aunt, Leanne Cheah, as well as several Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) representatives.
On Aug 13 last year, Cheah was taken into police custody for allegedly trying to steal a motorcycle at 12.30 am that day. He was detained at the Tanjung Tokong police station and taken to the Patani Road police station for a urine test before he was brought back to the police station at 5am.
However, Cheah was found dead some 20 minutes later in the lock-up.