Adib inquest: Recalling forensics expert to testify becomes topic of debate

Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi attends the inquest into fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s death at the Shah Alam High Court March 26, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi attends the inquest into fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s death at the Shah Alam High Court March 26, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

SHAH ALAM, April 22 — 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 operators and lawyers in today’s proceedings.

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

She 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,” she said in front of Coroner Rofiah Mohamad at the proceedings here, today.

Faten Hadni also said it was important to recall Dr Ahmad Hafizam because there was a dispute between two experts on the ‘mechanism’ of the injuries suffered by Muhammad Adib which led to his death.

Meanwhile, lawyer Syazlin Mansor, who represented the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the Fire Department and the family members of the victim, 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, Prof 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,” she said in her written argument.

She 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 (recalling the forensic expert) should be done in this case,” she said.

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

Muhammad Adib, a member of the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Department’s Emergency Medical Retrieval Service (EMRS) unit was seriously injured in a rioting incident at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, in USJ 25, Subang Jaya on November 27 last year, and died on December 17 at the National Heart Institute. — Bernama