No eye-witnesses who saw assault on fireman Adib, says IGP

The remains of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s remains being taken to his hometown in Kedah after he died of severe injuries after a riot in Subang Jaya in 2018. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Inspector-General of Police, Abdul Hamid Bador has reiterated that no reliable eye-witness had been found to an attack resulting in a fireman’s death in 2018, and denied that police were contradicting a coroner’s verdict.

A coroner’s inquest in 2019 had held that fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim had been murdered by two or more unidentified persons.

Abdul Hamid said in a statement today that all the facts announced by the police two days ago had been based on the latest information from their investigations. “However, efforts were still ongoing to identify the criminals, if any,” he said.

“It was not to go against the conclusion of the inquest proceedings,” he said in response to allegations by the fireman’s family that the police were disregarding the coroner’s findings.

On Friday the IGP had said that police had reached a dead end in their investigation and had exhausted all means to find reliable witnesses who could clearly testify that they had seen Adib being dragged and assaulted.

He had also suggested that a police task force be set up to look into the testimony provided by expert pathologists who conducted the post-mortem. The two pathologists gave different theories on how Adib had died.

In his statement today, Hamid reiterated that all the statements received, including those of 52 new witnesses, had been hearsay or mere opinion.

He said a coroner’s inquest was not a criminal trial, where the testimony of witnesses could be impeached and the prosecution and defence could contest the evidence presented.

He also suggested there was a possibility that results of ongoing police investigations may not be consistent with that of the inquest.

”In contrast, new information will be able to determine whether or not the decision by the coroner’s court can be supported or accepted fully.

“Only a trial in the criminal courts can reach a conclusive and holistic decision,” he said.

Abdul Hamid said there were a few issues that needed to be looked at further. “If it was true there was an assault as claimed based on witness and expert testimonies, there should be signs of an attack. The investigating team is still fine-tuning the matter to find the real suspect or any clues that could lead to arrest.”

Further investigations were also being held into the inconsistent testimony of a witness when giving his statement in three previous police interviews.

Some other witnesses from the inquest had revealed new information. and a death-bed declaration brought to the inquest was also being investigated as its credibility and legitimacy were not challenged at the inquest, he said.

Abdul Hamid said investigations into the case, arising from a riot at a temple in Subang Jaya, had resulted in 108 arrests, with 28 people being charged for various offences including rioting, causing injury, treason and obstructing the authorities.

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