Court allows forensic expert to be recalled in Adib inquest
INQUEST | The Kuala Lumpur High Court today allowed Kuala Lumpur Hospital forensic expert Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi to be recalled to the inquest into the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
Hafizam had conducted the autopsy on the deceased.
High Court judge Indera Ab Karim Ab Rahman made the decision after finding that the Shah Alam Coroner’s Court erred in its decision to reject inquest coordinating officer Hamdan Hamzah's application to recall the expert witness.
“I find that there has been a mistake by the coroner, in that she took into consideration the point that the inquest will not end (if the 24th witness was recalled).
“I agree with the application by the handler (Hamdan) and that only the expert witness, who is also the 24th witness, be recalled to give his explanation and testimony,” he said.
Karim also said there was no way the inquest would not end, as the coroner was in control of the proceedings, which were not aimed at accusing any individual, but to find out the actual cause of Adib’s death.
“Based on what (information) was given, the coroner should not have decided that it was enough, because there are new things that need to be explained by the 24th witness.
"The coroner should consider all the various aspects and not leave out anything, irrespective of whether or not it will have an impact on the decision.
“As such, it is necessary to give the witness a chance to give his explanation. This (decision) is applicable for the 24th witness only,” he said in fixing May 10 for the case mention at the Coroner’s Court.
On April 23, Hamdan filed an application with the High Court to review coroner Rofiah Mohamad’s decision in rejecting his application to recall the 23rd and 27th witnesses.
The application to recall the witnesses was due to there being a dispute between two experts regarding the mechanism of the injuries sustained by Adib, which resulted in his death.
Earlier, during the application proceedings, Hamdan (photo) told the court that the coroner may have erred in her decision by not asking him if he planned to call any more witnesses.
This was after hearing the testimony of the 29th witness, retired senior forensic and pathology consultant Dr Shahrom Abd Wahid.
Shahrom was called up by the lawyers for the victim’s family, the Housing and Local Government Ministry, as well as the Fire and Rescue Department, and whose testimony differed from that of Hafizam.
"The 24th witness was the one who conducted the postmortem (on Adib), not the 29th witness, who testified as if he had carried out the autopsy.
"How did the 29th witness make the factual findings? This needs to be explained by the 24th witness," he said.
Hamdan, in his argument, also felt that the Coroner’s Court should gather all the information and hear further explanation by the 24th witness with regard to the testimony given by the 29th witness.
“This is important in view of the fact that several matters not brought up by the 24th witness were commented on by the 29th witness, who went on to say that the findings of the 24th witness were incorrect,” he said.
Meanwhile, lawyer Mohd Kamaruzaman A Wahab, representing Adib's family, told the court that all witnesses had testified, and there was no need for the court to ask Hamdan if there were any more witnesses to be called.
He said all three expert witnesses called during the proceedings were to help the court to come to a decision.
Lawyer Syazlin Mansor, representing the ministry, department and victim’s family, argued that the coroner did ask Hamdan the reason why Hafizam had to be recalled, considering he had already given his testimony regarding Shahrom's (photo) findings.
"If there are new facts, we won’t object (to recalling the 24th witness), but there aren't any," she said.
Meanwhile, Kamaruzaman told reporters after the proceedings that they would appeal the High Court’s decision next week.
Adib, a member of the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Station Emergency Rescue and Medical Services unit, was seriously injured in a rioting incident at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple on Nov 27 last year.
He died at the National Heart Institute on Dec 17.