SHAH ALAM, Sept 27 — The Coroner’s Court announced today that fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s death from injuries sustained during a riot in Subang Jaya last year was the result of a crime.
Coroner Rofiah Mohamad said Adib’s wounds were likely the result of an assault by several individuals during the incident.
“The death is caused by a criminal impact by two or more unidentified people,” she said.
The inquest was called following conflicting accounts of the events leading to Adib’s injuries, which include him being accidentally hit by his own emergency vehicle or being attacked by people who pulled him out of it.
Rofiah also said omission on the part of the authorities were a contributing factor to his death.
“I am also of the view that the police and the FRU had failed to control the riot and this had contributed to Adib’s death,” Coroner Rofiah Mohamad said when delivering her conclusion.
“This is because if they (police) took the necessary action, the fire would not have happened and the Fire and Rescue Department would not have come and Adib would not have died.
“It is very unfortunate when two FRU teams with hundreds of personnel and seven types of various vehicles, including water cannons, merely watched the protestors attack the firefighters without doing anything.
“They were only on standby with their weapons, because they did not receive any orders to act, despite the tense situation,” Rofiah added.
Rofiah also said she would leave it to the police and attorney-general to decide what subsequent action was necessary as a result of today’s decision.
Adib, 24, died at the National Heart Institute on December 17, 2018, after succumbing to wounds sustained while he had been on duty.
The Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Station’s Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) unit member was seriously injured three weeks earlier during a November 27 riot at Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam temple in USJ25, Subang Jaya.
As Rofiah was reading her findings, the late Adib’s fiance Nurul Najihah Mohd Radzi, 25, and another female relative were seen crying.
The family’s lawyer Syazlin Mansor was also seen crying after the inquest verdict was announced.
Adib’s brother Mohd Asraf was also present and was sombre throughout the proceeding.
In her verdict today, Rofiah also rejected the findings by the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) forensic pathologist Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi in favour of another expert, Prof Dr Shahrom Abdul Wahid, whom she said had provided a more consistent narrative to explain Adib’s injuries.
She said this was also consistent with the testimony provided by a physicist who was called to weigh in on the calculation of the blow impact that caused Adib’s injuries, as provided by Dr Shahrom.
Dr Ahmad, who conducted an autopsy on Adib, had testified that Adib’s injuries were inconsistent with assault as alleged.
Instead, he concluded that the seven broken ribs may be from being hit by an EMRS vehicle as it was backing out during the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple riots in Subang Jaya last year.
Dr Shahrom, who is a senior consultant forensic pathologist in the United Kingdom (UK), however, had steadily disputed Dr Ahmad’s findings at every testimony.
New Straits Times (NST) reported him arguing that Adib could have been pulled out of the EMRS van he was waiting in, and that several people could have kicked the door of the vehicle, hitting Adib with enough force to break his bones.
State news agency Bernama reported him telling the Coroner’s Court that he also does not agree with the report by the HKL, that there were no bruises on the Adib’s back.
Dr Shahrom, who was the 29th witness at the inquest into Adib’s death, reportedly said that the bruises were not found even after a post-mortem on the victim was carried out, simply because it was not done thoroughly.