Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 05/08/2013 22:30 | By Channel NewsAsia

Coroner's Inquiry into American engineer's death to begin May 13

Coroner's Inquiry into American engineer's death to begin May 13


Coroner's Inquiry into American engineer's death to begin May 13

SINGAPORE: A Coroner's Inquiry into the death of an American engineer will begin at the Subordinate Courts on Monday.

Dr Shane Todd, 31, was found hanged in his Chinatown apartment last June in an apparent suicide.

His parents arrived in Singapore on Monday to prepare for the inquiry - which is slated to run till the end of the month.

For Mary Todd and her husband Rick, many questions remain unanswered about their son's death.

"Well, first of all, we want to recognise how Shane died, the police have never gotten off the idea of suicide," said Rick Todd.

"We have been coping well under the circumstances but it's the most incredulous, most horrendous situation any parent could go through," said Mary Todd.

Dr Todd's parents believe he was murdered over research he had done while working for Singapore's Institute of Microelectronics. 

The Todd family have also raised doubts about the way investigations were carried out.

At the Coroner's Inquiry, the Todd family can question investigation findings, as well as forensic and medical reports.

After that, the State Coroner will review the evidence and independently determine the cause of Dr Todd's death.

Some 50 witnesses are expected to take the stand, and the family will be represented by a team of five lawyers led by Gloria James-Civetta.

When contacted, the Police reiterated their previous statements on the matter, that they are committed to ensuring investigations into Dr Todd's death are thorough... and that all evidence relevant to the case is made available at the inquiry.

The Attorney-General's Chambers told MediaCorp that a Coroner's Inquiry is a fact-finding process, solely dedicated to determining the cause of and circumstances surrounding a death. 

"The Attorney-General's Chambers expressed our condolences to the family of Dr Todd for their loss. The Coroner's Inquiry is a fact-finding process, solely dedicated to determining the cause of and circumstances surrounding Dr Todd's death. During the inquiry, which will be public and open, Dr Todd's family will have the opportunity to raise concerns relating to the case. AGC is currently working with the legal counsel appointed by Dr Todd's family to ensure that all evidence relating to the case is presented to the Coroner in order for him to make a proper determination."

Dr Todd's parents have made the long trip to Singapore three times in less than a year. The first - to collect their son's body, the second - to meet with officials, and now on this third trip, they hope to get the answers that they've been looking for. - CNA/de

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