Why the delay in handing over coroner’s notes, Ivana’s lawyer asks

Dutch model Ivana Smit, who was found dead on Dec 7, 2017. (Instagram pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The lawyer representing the family of Ivana Smit is unhappy with the delay in the handing over of the notes of proceedings of the inquest into the Dutch model’s death.

SN Nair said the High Court would only set a date for case management of his review application over coroner Mahyon Talib’s “misadventure” verdict of Smit’s death in 2017 after the Coroner’s Court hands over the documents.

“My clients and I are getting quite despondent as a result of this inordinate delay in fixing the hearing of the revision application.

“Worse still, since the coroner has ruled that Ivana’s death was a misadventure, it has given sudden courage to the reticent Johnsons to give several interviews to well-known English and Dutch newspapers lately,” he said, referring to the American-Kazakh couple that last saw Smit alive.

Smit, 18, was found sprawled in the nude on the balcony of a sixth-floor unit at the CapSquare Residence condominium off Jalan Dang Wangi on Dec 7, 2017.

She is believed to have fallen from a unit on the 20th floor where she had been staying with her host couple Alex Johnson and Luna Almaz earlier that day.

Johnson and Almaz, who have maintained their innocence in the case, are now living in the US. They left Malaysia months after Smit’s death made headlines worldwide.

SN Nair.

They recently resurfaced after spending 18 months in hiding and insisted that Smit climbed over the edge of their balcony, reiterating that they had no part in her death.

But Nair said the couple had “gloated on their purported innocence” without awaiting the revision hearing of the coroner’s ruling.

“This has added insult to injury for the family,” he said.

The High Court registrar previously requested that the Coroner’s Court hand over the documents by May 27. It also fixed that date for case management.

On May 27, however, the registrar told Nair’s legal team that the Coroner’s Court had informed them that they had only finished the notes of proceedings involving the first 16 witnesses.

Twenty-two witnesses took the stand in the inquest which ran for 21 days from August to December last year.

The High Court registrar then fixed July 15 for further mention. The Coroner’s Court is supposed to finish the notes of proceedings for the remaining six witnesses by then.

Nair said on June 10, he wrote to the coroner to expedite the preparation of the notes of proceedings so that the High Court could fix a hearing date on July 15 during case management.

Police originally classified Smit’s death as sudden death. However, an inquest was called last year after Smit’s family claimed there were elements of foul play and a cover-up by the police.

On March 8, Mahyon ruled Smit’s death a misadventure, which implies that Smit died in an accident due to voluntary risk with no one implicated in her death.

The verdict was questioned by Smit’s family as well as Nair, who called it “unambiguous and contradicting”.

On March 11, Nair, acting on behalf of Smit’s family, filed a review application of the “misadventure” verdict, saying Mahyon had arrived at the “wrong conclusion”.