Left side of EMRS van considered danger zone, forensic expert tells inquest

Kuala Lumpur Hospital forensic expert Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi.

SHAH ALAM: The inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim today heard that the left side of the Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) vehicle, from where he was allegedly pulled out, was a “danger zone”.

Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) forensic specialist Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi said the area would become even more dangerous if the left front door of the EMRS van was opened.

“It can be a dangerous object and can hit anyone who is in the vicinity of the danger zone. This is because both the EMRS van and the Fire Rescue Tender (FRT) were reversing at the time,” he said.

Hafizam, who was taking the stand a second time, also disagreed with the theory that Adib was pulled out of the van.

He cited how clinical examination and a post-mortem he had carried out with Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood, also from HKL, did not find any injury marks consistent with Adib being pulled out or fighting back.

“If he was pulled, he had capability to defend himself. The van was reversing. If someone were to have pulled the victim from this position, he would have to move backwards in tandem with the reversing van.

“The edge of the door could have hit the assailant,” he said.

Hafizam said the position of Adib, when he was supposedly pulled out of the van, did not make it possible for him to sustain horizontal abrasions to the back of his left hip.

“If this had happened, the person who supposedly pulled him would also have been endangered and would also sustain injuries which could lead to death.

“But, the investigating officer informed the inquest that there were no reports of others getting injured when the vehicles were reversing that night,” he said.

On the possibility of Adib being pulled out and dragged on a rough surface by his shirt collar – as theorised by former forensic doctor Prof Shahrom Abd Wahid – Hafizam said the clinical examination and post-mortem carried out did not detect any abrasions.

“There were no abrasions on both the right and left butt cheeks, on the back of his thighs and calves, as well as on his hands.

“There were no injuries consistent with the act of an assailant dragging Adib by the shirt collar,” he said.

Hafizam also said there was no dirt on the back of Adib’s pants, while the white stain on the pants suggested that he had been sitting on a dusty and dirty surface.

He said that if it was the same surface, and Adib was dragged, similar stains would appear on the parts of the pants in contact with the ground.

To a question by conducting officer Faten Hadni Khairuddin, Hafizam said that even if the material of the pants was thick or of good quality, the chances of getting abrasions from being dragged was high due to the uneven road.

To another question on whether the absence of stains on his butt area was due to Adib lifting his legs a little, Hafizam said if Adib was already in a position of not being able to fight back, and had severe injuries, he would not have been able to lift both his limbs to prevent injuries.

“If the victim can do that, he can surely fight back.

“Based on the evidence given by the doctor from the Subang Jaya Medical Centre, there were no injuries on the butt, thigh, calf and hand areas,” he said.

Hafizam pointed to the likelihood that Adib may have got out of the vehicle in a hurry, and as a result, sustained injuries to the back of his left hip.

Subsequently, the left side of his back could have been hit by the edge of the EMRS door, resulting in fractures to seven rib bones in a vertical and straight manner.

“The victim was then flung to the front and fell, with his right chest hitting a hard, broad, blunt and rough surface, which then led to bruises and abrasions to the right chest and his arm.

“He also sustained fractures to the right rib bones, and simultaneous abrasions to his left elbow and right knee,” he said.

Hafizam further surmised that Shahrom had only chosen certain injuries on Adib’s right chest and certain injuries on his upper right arm in arriving at his theory.

He claimed that Shahrom did not provide the full picture and only chose certain structures of interest to be measured, leaving out others.

Hafizam also said that Shahrom’s theory did not fit the very short period of five to eight seconds in which Adib had purportedly sustained injuries.

The inquest before Rofiah Mohamad continues tomorrow when a speed test will be carried out on an EMRS van.

Adib, a member of the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Department’s EMRS unit, was seriously injured during the riots at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in USJ 25 on Nov 27 last year.

He died on Dec 17 at the National Heart Institute.