A forensic expert testifying in an inquest into Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s death said the police hypothesis is “wrong” and “was not tested”.
Police had said Adib got hurt when he was hit by the door of an emergency vehicle that he exited on his own, and the impact from being hit landed him on the roadside.
Professor Dr Shahrom Adb Wahid said he has studied all the evidence available, and found the police’s theory to be incorrect.
“From the clinical examination and post-mortem results, as well as videos of the incident and the reconstruction by police, they came up with the theory that Adib exited the EMRS (emergency medical rescue services) vehicle by himself and was hit by the door, before falling and landing by the roadside.
“This hypothesis is wrong, and it was not tested. I studied it, and found it to be inaccurate,” he said, adding that he conducted his own reconstruction of the incident.
Shahrom, who was formerly attached to Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said pathologists from Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) had said in their report summary that they could not “safely conclude” whether Adib had been pinned between two surfaces.
“Overall, I am satisfied with the post-mortem report which was prepared by two senior doctors.
“But I was confused over two paragraphs where they said they could not be sure whether Adib was pulled out, or if he had voluntarily left the passenger seat of the van, and whether Adib was squeezed between two surfaces,” he said when questioned by lawyer Syazlin Mansor.
Syazlin, representing the local and housing government ministry in the inquest, had asked Shahrom about the post-mortem report by HKL pathologists Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi and Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood.
The doctors previously told the inquest they believed Adib might have stepped out from the medical van during the Seafield temple riot last year, and that the fireman’s injuries were not due to an assault.
Shahrom said there should be no contradiction between the pathologists’ report and the theory they presented to the court.
“I find that HKL’s hypothesis does not seem right, and was not tested,” he added.
He said he had also conducted an experiment where an emergency medical rescue service (EMRS) van reversed at 17kmph, similar to the speed of the van on Nov 27, 2018.
“To me, it’s not strong enough to break seven ribs,” he said.
He added that the fireman in the experiment did not fall forward, as HKL claimed Adib had done.
“The ‘model’, covered with cushion pads for this experiment, fell on his back and injured his head,” he said.
Shahrom told the coroners’ court that Adib could have been pulled out of the EMRS vehicle by an individual behind him.
“Rationally speaking, Adib should have closed the door if he saw people charging in his direction. If he saw those people coming, he would have known that he was going to be attacked.
“After reviewing the video (of the incident), I did not see rioters in front of the Fire Rescue Tender vehicle and the EMRS van. There is a possibility that there were others who came from behind, and he was suddenly pulled out of the van.”
Shahrom was asked to give his opinion on what could have happened.
“In my opinion, someone had approached Adib, and he did not realise the individual’s intention. When this person was close enough, Adib was pulled out, and at the same time, another person kicked the van’s door, and as he was pulled out, the door was again kicked by the same person, or a different one.
“Adib was taken down at a 45° angle, and he spun as a result of being pulled, and he was pulled up and slammed against the door, and then, he was pushed down to the ground and he was dragged to the roadside.”
When asked by Adib’s family lawyer, Kamaruzaman A Wahab, about the injuries at the late fireman’s waist and whether these could have been due to Adib emerging from the van, Shahrom said no.
“I asked some firemen whether they had sustained injuries while coming down from the van, and they said none of them was ever injured,” he added.
Here, conducting officer Faten Hadni Khairuddin told coroner Rofiah Mohamad that they wanted to recall Hafizam to rebut Shahrom’s theory on Adib’s death.
However, both Kamaruzaman and Syazlin objected to this, saying there is no need for the rebuttal of evidence in an inquest.
“This is only an inquest to determine the cause of death. It is not a criminal proceeding,” Kamaruzaman said.
Syazlin, meanwhile, said Hafizam had already explained his theory, and that the ministry had brought Shahrom in to assist the court in making its finding.
Rofiah then told the lawyers and Faten to file an argument on whether Hafizam can be recalled to the witness stand.
She also set April 22 to hear the submissions.
Faten told reporters after the proceeding that if their application to recall Hafizam is allowed, the doctor will take the witness stand on April 23.