Adib’s rib injuries may have been caused by EMRS van door, forensic institute director suggests

Datuk Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood attends the inquest of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim at Shah Alam High Court March 29, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood attends the inquest of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim at Shah Alam High Court March 29, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

SHAH ALAM, March 29 — Fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s fractured back ribs may have been caused by an object near a door of the Emergency Medical Rescue Service (EMRS) van, the Coroner’s Court was told today.

Director of National Forensic Medicine Institute Datuk Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood, 59, who has over 13 years of experience, suggested that a blunt, thin and straight object may have come into contact with the bone structure at a high impact or vice versa.

“This is the first time in my career that I have come across such an injury pattern that is so straight and upright, similar to a ruler,” he told the court.

He said he had sought answers from the investigating officer on the matter to obtain medical scans to determine whether the injuries were sustained during the incident or while Adib was being treated on IJN.

“We did not know the cause until we were invited by the police to attend the scene reconstruction process held on December 22.

“During the reconstruction process, the fire engine and Emergency Medical Rescue Service vehicle deployed during the riot were also brought back to the scene,” he said, after government lawyer Hamdan Hamzah asked what could have caused such extensive injuries.

“We then found a small structure with an estimated width of 2mm located near the front left door of the EMRS van which emerged as the most likely object that cause the injuries on Adib’s back.”

He also maintained in his testimony that after taking into account the injury pattern and its distribution, Adib’s circumstances were not caused by any form of physical assault or being sandwiched between two vehicles.

“In most cases of physical assault, injuries will be discovered at the head, face and neck areas. There were also no visible signs of self-defence injuries on the arm, forearm and legs of Adib.

“The possibility of him being sandwiched is also minimal as he would have sustained far more serious injuries,” he said.

Dr Mohd Shah also said that the injury to the back ribs were only discovered for the first time during the autopsy, and were not detected throughout Adib’s 21-day hospitalisation at the National Heart Institute (IJN) after a clinical examination was performed on November 30.

“When the post-mortem was conducted on December 18, we discovered for the first time the uniqueness and specificity of the injuries that was not initially told to us by IJN,” Dr Mohd Shah said, referring to the injuries to the first to seventh rear left ribs.

“We admit that we did not have knowledge at that time during the autopsy and we were asking ourselves what could have caused the fractures,” he told Judge Rofiah Mohamad, who was sitting as coroner for the inquest here.

Dr Mohd Shah, who is the 27th witness to testify, explained that the post-mortem was conducted together with Kuala Lumpur Hospital medical forensics department officer Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi — who testified previously as the 24th witness for the inquest.

Later in the evening, Dr Mohd Shah told the court he had assumed it was a ‘straight-forward’ examination of Adib when they were called to IJN and had taken into account of Adib being physically assaulted.

“At first we were not convinced that the injuries were the result of an assault following a clinical examination on Adib.

“During the autopsy, we were also wondering among ourselves about the injury to the back of the ribs that was not informed to us by IJN which made it difficult for to us to exclude multiple theories we had whether Adib was beaten.

“After the autopsy and the assistance of the reconstruction process, we were then able to determine the full extent of the injuries to ascertain the sequence of injuries due to their unique pattern,” he said.

He added that the existing post-mortem and clinical examination findings were the most accurate for now until new evidence is presented in court.

The hearing resumes 10.30am on Monday.

Muhammad Adib was critically injured in the early morning of November 27 after he and his team members from the Subang Jaya fire station responded to an emergency call at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple where a riot was taking place.

He was first taken to Subang Jaya Medical Centre, before being transferred to IJN for further treatment, where he succumbed to his wounds on December 17.

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