Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) forensic pathologist Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi lamented of being “humiliated” in court when testifying in the inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
- Expert witness Dr Shahrom to be recalled
- Court to seek opinion of independent mechanical engineering expert
- Coroner considering third independent pathologist
The forensic expert witness said his only intention was to assist the court in measuring the force of impact in relation to the injuries sustained by Adib.
The 24th witness who was recalled to testify insisted several times that he is not a physicist and urged the court to refer to an expert in the field for any confirmation regarding the determination of impact force.
“I have always emphasised that I am not a physicist. I might have misunderstood (about the request to calculate the impact force). When asked by the lawyer, I thought I had explained it to the coroner.
Earlier, Hafizam had a heated exchange with counsel Syazlin Mansor representing the Fire and Rescue Department as well as the Housing and Local Government Ministry when Syazlin claimed his explanation on the force of impact calculation was confusing.
Syazlin: The calculation on the force of gravity you presented in court is wrong, let an expert talk about this. You do not have to confuse the court further.
Hafizam: I am not making it confusing for the court. Yesterday, I thought I was told to do the calculation, so I came up with a new calculation. I should not be humiliated over this calculation.
Syazlin: Earlier you said the calculation by Professor Shahrom was wrong, but when you showed a new calculation on gravitational force, I see that it is incorrect. So, I am saying that you are wrong and confusing the court, I am not trying to embarrass you.
In reply to another question from Syazlin, Hafizam said the bruises found on Adib’s abdomen were not due to impact pressure but was likely to have occurred when the victim was treated at the National Heart Institute (IJN).
“In this case, the victim died after 21 days of receiving treatment and within the course of treatment, the victim may have moved to the left or right, when he was unconscious. Based on the post-mortem, the bruises were not due to the victim being pulled,” he said.
The witness also disagreed with the theory that Adib was pulled by the left elbow or by the shirt, based on several factors such as the Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) van was moving in a dangerous situation, the victim was fit, clinical examinations and post-mortem findings.
The hearing before Coroner Rofiah Mohamad continues on May 27 and 28.
The Coroner Court has also fixed May 27 and 28 to recall an expert witness, Professor Dr Shahrom Abd Wahid, a senior forensic pathology consultant in the United Kingdom who was also a former senior forensic and pathology consultant at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz.
Rofiah came to the decision after allowing the application by Syazlin.
Earlier, Syazlin made an application to recall the 29th witness as there were controversies over the cause of Adib’s death.
The lawyer also suggested that an expert witness in the field of mechanical engineering be called to testify to explain on the force formula involving Adib’s injuries which has become an issue in court.
“We also recommend that an independent mechanical engineering expert be called and it is up to the court to decide whether the expert is selected by the stakeholders or the court,” conducting officer Faten Hadni Khairuddin said.
On the application to call an expert witness in mechanical engineering, Rofiah urged all stakeholders to discuss in advance on the name of the expert witness as well as the questions to be submitted.
“The court needs a suggestion on the name, qualification (before making a decision). If you want to produce a witness, it is alright to testify in written form as with the 112 statements (sworn testimonies) or perhaps submit the questions and let the witness answer, because there are several issues such as readiness and if the (witness) is proposed by the KPKT, people may assume that the person is a paid witness,” she said.
Meanwhile, the coroner has reserved her ruling on whether a third independent pathologist will be called in to testify in the ongoing inquest.
Fatin said no request will be made to call a third forensic expert, but the matter is left for the court to decide on a necessity to do so or otherwise.
“Right now, we don’t think there is a need to call a third expert but we are still telling the court to consider it,” she told reporters.
In total, Hafizam had appeared before the inquest nine times, throughout which he defended his views based on the post-mortem’s findings and further conclusions made from testimonies of other witnesses, against Shahrom’s suggestions.
Among others, Hafizam maintained that there were no injuries found on Adib to indicate that he was pulled out of the EMRS van.
Similarly, he said there were no injuries found to indicate Adib had attempted to break his fall from the EMRS van using the palm of his hands, in an act of self-defence.
To suggestions that no signs of bruising were discovered on Adib’s back as he had failed to separate the layers of skin and tissue, Hafizam maintained there was no need to do so, and the procedure could only be carried out by a plastic surgeon using a special machine.
The inquest was ordered after two conflicting versions of his cause of death emerged. One version claimed he was hit by a vehicle while the other said he was beaten up by a mob.