KUALA LUMPUR — Nov. 22, 2019: A High Court has ruled that the death of Dutch model Ivana Esther Robert Smit was caused by persons known or unknown and thus overturned a coroner’s ruling that the death was due to misadventure.
The decision today was made by Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah following an application by Smit’s family to review the ruling in March.
According to Sequerah, there was insufficient investigation on the possibility of death by homicide.
“The coroner, in her decision, had agreed with the findings of Dutch pathologist Dr. Frank Van Der Goot that Smit and her hosts, Alex Johnson and Luna Almaz, might have engaged in a struggle prior to the death.
But despite agreeing with the expert witness, she returned a verdict of misadventure. “This was inconsistent with her findings in respect to Dr. Van Der Goot’s evidence,” remarked the judge.
He then set aside the coroner’s decision and directed the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to instruct the police to investigate the cause of the death of the 19-year-old model.
Throughout the inquest, it was revealed that Smit’s body had signs of arm grip, trauma at the back of the head and the DNA of Johnson under her nails.
It was also disclosed that based on testimonies of witnesses, including the investigating officer, the court found that Smit died due to a fall from a high place.
Smit, who was believed to be under the influence of alcohol, was found sprawled in the nude on the sixth floor condo of CapSquare Residence in Kuala Lumpur, 14 floors below the unit of Johnson and Almaz, in December 2017.
In her judgment coroner Mahyon Talib said the court found no one criminally liable for the death.
The couple claimed to have had sex with Smit before her death but maintained their innocence, saying that Smit died due to her own youthful recklessness but they did not testify during the inquest.
A representative from Dutch police, Gerald van Heerwaarde, said the decision would be relayed to headquarters. “We will see how we can assist Malaysian police in their investigations,” he said. — Bernama