Medical Council may be asked to help Adib inquest untangle conflicting theories

SHAH ALAM: The Coroner’s Court here will decide next week whether an independent pathologist is needed to testify in the inquest into the death of the late fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.

If there was no need for this, coroner Rofiah Mohamad said she would decide next Wednesday (July 24) whether to close the inquest or not.

“I will decide (then) if we will close the inquest with the (testimony) of the 30th witness or if we need another pathologist,” she said. The 30th witness was senior lecturer Amir Rafzi Ab Ghani, from Universiti Teknologi Mara Shah Alam’s mechanical engineering faculty, who finished testifying today.

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Faten Hadni Khairuddin, when met by reporters outside the court later, said no names for an independent pathologist had been proposed yet.

“If the court wants to refer (to a third pathologist), we would recommend it to refer to the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC),” she said, adding that the MMC would then set up a committee to study the evidence presented in court.

The committee will then decide which of the two pathologists previously was right or if they have a new theory as to how Adib’s injuries were caused. One pathologist will then testify as the committee’s representative.

Faten noted that previously in a similar case, the court had referred to the MMC. A committee was then formed comprising three pathologists who had no connection with any witnesses in that case.

She said this would apply in this case as well and an independent witness would be called.

She was unaware of how long this would take.

She added that she was also unsure how long Rofiah would take to give her verdict on the cause of Adib’s death once the inquest was closed.

There have been conflicting views by two forensic specialists, Dr Shahrom Abd Wahid and Kuala Lumpur Hospital’s Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi on what caused the injuries to Adib, especially the calculation over the force of impact of the Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) van against Adib.

Shahrom said Adib could have been pulled out of the front seat of the EMRS van and kicked, based on the injuries he sustained, while Ahmad said he found Shahrom’s calculations inaccurate, concluding that the force from the door of the EMRS was strong enough to cause the fractures.

Rofiah, meanwhile, said she would also decide on Wednesday whether to allow an ex parte application against Attorney-General Tommy Thomas that was filed by the lawyers representing Adib’s family.

She told Mohd Kamaruzaman A Wahab, counsel for the deceased’s family who raised the matter yesterday, that she had yet to see the application on her planner.

She said the application was likely still being processed and that she would speak to the court registrar on this.

An ex parte application is an urgent request to the court.

The lawyers yesterday filed the application at the Coroner’s Court here, claiming that Tommy was in contempt of court over an affidavit by the Attorney-General’s Chambers in April stating how the fireman had died, ahead of Rofiah’s ruling on the matter.

Earlier this year, DPP Hamdan Hamzah had affirmed an affidavit stating that Adib’s death was not due to beatings by any person.

It also said that a forensic pathologist had testified in the inquest that the injuries sustained by Adib, which led to his death, were not injuries due to beating.

The inquest, which was called by the government this year amid conflicting claims about the cause of Adib’s death, has heard from 30 witnesses spanning 42 days since February.

Adib went to the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple area with other firemen to put out fires to cars caused by rioters on Nov 27 last year. The 24-year-old died three weeks later at the National Heart Institute.