Adib Inquest: Assumption Adib Assaulted Dismissed After Autopsy

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Fireman’s injuries highly unusual, with unique broken ribs not detected at IJN – only at autopsy.

  • Ribs broken “in a straight line”, back may have been hit by EMRS van door within 13-second window
  • Not likely Adib was crushed between two vehicles – he would have sustained far more serious injuries
  • No injuries caused by physical assault
  • No visible signs of self-defence injuries
  • Evidence does not support fireman dragged out of van during riot

A forensic expert shared that it was the first time he had seen such a “unique” injury, where left ribs number one to seven were broken in a straight vertical line.

Kuala Lumpur Hospital’s Forensic Medicine Department chief Datuk Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood told the Coroner’s Court in the inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim that the injury was detected during the post-mortem on Dec 18 last year.

“During the post-mortem, we found that the victim had fractured his left ribs and the injury was unique,” the 27th witness said in reply to conducting officer Hamdan Hamzah.

Shah suggested that a blunt, thin and straight object may have come into contact with the bone structure at a high impact or vice versa.


“This is the first time in my career that I have come across such an injury pattern that is so straight and upright, similar to a ruler,” he told the court.

Shah, 59, who has handled more than 1,000 post-mortems in his 13 years of service in Hospital Kuala Lumpur, said the team was also puzzled as to why no prior information was given regarding the injury.

It was learnt that the unique injury was not detected during the clinical examination of the victim at the National Heart Institute (IJN) intensive care unit on Nov 30.

“We did not know the cause until we were invited by the police to attend the scene reconstruction process held on December 22.”

While reconstructing the incident at the scene, he said his team had found six possibilities that might have caused the fractures on the ribs.

Shah said two possibilities involved Adib being hit by the left and right rear corners of the Fire Rescue Tender (FRT) vehicle and another four possibilities involved him being hit by the two ladders at the back of the vehicle.

He said his team then found that the left front door of the Emergency Medical Rescue Service (EMRS) van, which Adib had travelled in, had a thin and vertical corner which was about two millimetres wide. The small structure emerged as the most likely object that caused the injuries on Adib’s back.

“At that point, we realised that it could be the thin and blunt object, which was consistent with the unique injury on his left ribs, which were broken in a straight vertical line,” Shah said.

He also maintained in his testimony that after taking into account the injury pattern and its distribution, Adib’s circumstances were not caused by being crushed between two vehicles (the FRT vehicle and the EMRS van) or any form of physical assault.

“The possibility of him being sandwiched is minimal as he would have sustained far more serious injuries.

Yusof Mat Isa

“In most cases of physical assault, injuries will be discovered at the head, face and neck areas. There were also no visible signs of self-defence injuries on the arm, forearm and legs of Adib,” Shah said.

He added that the injury to the back ribs was only discovered for the first time during the autopsy, and was not detected throughout Adib’s 21-day hospitalisation at the IJN.

“When the post-mortem was conducted on December 18, we discovered for the first time the uniqueness and specificity of the injuries that were not initially told to us by IJN,” Shah said, referring to the injuries to the first to the seventh rear left ribs.

“We admit that we did not have knowledge at that time during the autopsy and we were asking ourselves what could have caused the fractures,” he told Judge Rofiah Mohamad, who was sitting as coroner for the inquest here.

Shah also said that Adib could only have sustained his injuries within a narrow 13-second window on the night of the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple riot last year.

He said that this was based on the results of Adib’s clinical examination and autopsy, and a 46-second video of the riot which took place on Nov 27.

Hamdan had asked Shah to pinpoint when the fireman had most likely been injured in the video, which was shown in court yesterday.

The video had shown the FRT lorry and EMRS van reversing when approached by an angry mob and ended with the van having turned around to drive away, with its rear end facing the lorry’s own rear.

Based on the video, Shah said Adib would have come down from the vehicle between the 26th second and 39th second.

The video supports the possibility of the injury being sustained by the fireman within 13 seconds before the EMRS van turned around.

Shah said it might have taken around six seconds for the side of the door to hit Adib in the back.

He added that it was impossible for the firefighter to have been pulled out of the van while the vehicle was reversing as the person would have had to keep up with the van’s moving speed.

“At the same time, the person would have had to open the passenger door in order to pull Adib out,” he said.

Previously, Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) forensic medicine specialist Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi testified before the Coroner’s Court that the results of the autopsy among others point to Adib more likely being hit by the van’s passenger door, which sent him hurling against a hard object.

Hafizam had said the evidence does not support the allegation that the firefighter had been dragged out of the EMRS van during the riot.

Earlier reports:

Mar 29, Adib Inquest: Broken Ribs Only Discovered During Autopsy

Mar 28, Adib Inquest: Impossible for Adib to Have Been Dragged Out of Van