A Coroner’s Court asked the counsel for a couple who were last seen with Dutch model Ivana Esther Robert Smit before she was found dead at a condominium unit in Dang Wangi to leave the courtroom.
GM Tan, who was holding a watching brief for American Alex Johnson, 44, and his wife Luna, 31, had earlier told the court that he could not confirm whether the couple would be attending the proceedings.
Coroner Mahyon Talib said Tan had no business being there if his clients were not going to show up to testify despite being subpoenaed by the prosecution.
Mahyon also declined to accept a letter from the couple explaining their absence.
Tan had earlier apologised, saying his clients were not in the country. He said he had been informed that they would not be testifying today, but declined to confirm if they would be testifying at all in the eight-day inquest.
However, SN Nair, the special counsel holding a watching brief for Smit’s family, said the couple’s testimony was crucial to the inquest as they were the last people to meet with the model before her death on Dec 7.
“It is very irresponsible of them not to come today, but to engage a watching brief lawyer to attend on their behalf.
“Their absence only creates more suspicion in this case, and they now risk being the prime suspects in Smit’s death,” he said.
Adding that the Johnsons had given an exclusive interview to the UK’s Daily Mail, Nair said he had many questions for them as they had made a number of allegations concerning his client.
“They must take the stand. If they are not going to testify, then their special counsel has no business here. He is sitting behind me here and making me uncomfortable,” Nair said.
Mahyon then told Tan to leave, agreeing that he had no business attending the proceedings if he could not even confirm if his clients would be attending future inquest dates.