Conducting officer, lawyer clash on recalling expert at Adib inquest

Kuala Lumpur Hospital forensic expert Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi conducted a post-mortem on firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.

SHAH ALAM: The issue of recalling an expert witness to testify in the inquest into the death of Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim became the bone of contention between inquest officers and lawyers in today’s proceedings.

In his argument, conducting officer Faten Hadni Khairuddin urged the coroner’s court to consider an application to recall the 24th witness – Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) forensic expert Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi, 40, who conducted a post-mortem on the firefighter.

He said the court had the discretion under Section 425 of the Criminal Procedure Code to recall relevant witnesses to achieve a fair decision in the inquest.

“The 24th witness is important because we can still ask him questions that will help the court assess the testimonies in the inquest as a whole,” he told coroner Rofiah Mohamad.

Faten also said it was important to recall Ahmad because there was a dispute between two experts on the “mechanism” of the injuries suffered by Adib which led to his death.

Lawyer Syazlin Mansor, who represented the housing and local government ministry, the Fire Department and Adib’s family members, objected to the request, arguing that all witnesses had been given fair and equal opportunity to testify.

“If the court allows the 24th witness to provide a rebuttal against (our) witnesses, namely the 29th witness (former senior forensic and pathology consultant at Hospital Cancelor Tuanku Muhriz, Dr Shahrom Abd Wahid), this (matter) will be endless.

“This is because we will also then surely call the 29th witness to defend his theory,” he said in his written argument.

Syazlin also referred to the inquest on Teoh Beng Hock’s death, where inquest operators did not recall two pathologists who conducted the first post-mortem on the deceased.

“Hence, there is no reason it should be done in this case,” he said.

Rofiah then set 10.30am tomorrow to deliver the ruling on Faten’s application.

Adib, a member of the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Department’s Emergency Medical Retrieval Service (EMRS) unit, was seriously injured in a riot at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, in USJ 25, Subang Jaya on Nov 27 last year.

He died on Dec 17 at the National Heart Institute.