Emrs Van Did Not Have Enough Force To Send Adib Hurtling Says Witness

INQUEST | The reversing Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) van did not have enough force to send firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim hurtling on a nearby road curb on the night of the Seafield Temple riots on Nov 27 last year, testified a retired Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) pathology professorThe 29th witness Dr Shahrom Abd Wahid told the Coroner’s Court at Shah Alam today that the hypothesis does not coincide with real-life examples where people have been knocked down by buses and cars
During the inquest into the firefighter’s death, videos of real-life accidents worldwide were played, where one showed a man being knocked to the side by a bus speeding from behind him, another video showed a skateboarded riding his skateboard onto a road and being knocked down by a car which quickly braked to a stop, and another video showed a man crossing a road being sent flying to the front on impact by a car which also quickly braked to a halt
As lawyers for the victim and the Housing and Local Government Ministry as well as inquest conducting officer Faten Hadni Khairuddin looked on, the videos showed all of the victims quickly getting back up on their feet and walking away, with the skateboarder seen touching his elbow as a passersby came to his aid
Video re-enactmentsThen the court was shown videos of firefighter re-enactments of an EMRS van with an open front passenger side door reversing at similar speeds to the actual van involved in the riots, each time knocking down a test dummy and a firefighter swaddled in protective padding and helmet, where their backs were facing the incoming door
Each impact by the door on the test subject’s back merely caused them to spin around and fall on their side and back rather than their front, with the live subject quickly getting up again
Referring to the played videos to support his testimony, Shahrom said that Adib’s injuries could not have come from being hit by the EMRS open front passenger door as control tests on test dummies and a live subject (showed in the reenactment videos) showed that said subjects always landed on their side and back rather than their front
He was rebutting the conclusion reached by Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) forensic department head Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood and its medical forensic specialist Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi that Adib had by his own volition came out of the van’s front left passenger side, his from the back by the reversing vehicle’s open front left passenger door, and sent the victim hurtling to the front and land on his chest on a road curb
The two HKL experts were also involved in the medical autopsy on Adib when the 24-year-old victim was warded at the National Heart Institute (IJN) following the Nov 27 Seafield Temple riots last year, and also involved in the actual autopsy when the firefighter died shortly after in December
Syazlin: Could you tell the court of your opinion of the hypothesis arrived at by HKL experts
Shahrom: I find their hypothesis untested. I looked through the hypothesis and I find it untrue because even if the EMRS van was moving at less than 15km per hour and the victim suddenly stepped down onto the road
Just say that it (van) slowed down to 12km per hour and the door hit the victim. The net momentum is only 3km per hour by minus 15km per hour from 12km per hour
This is too little (impact and momentum). It would not break any of the ribs, for example (Adib’s) left rear ribs
Shahrom pointed to the videos showing firefighter reenactments with a dummy where an EMRS van reversed at 17km per hour and hit the standing dummy’s back with the vehicle’s open front left passenger door, where the dummy merely spun around and fell onto its left and then the back of its head, without its front side ever suffering impact on the ground
He said that the control experiments showed that any injury resulting from the HKL experts’ hypothesis should not have been on Adib’s front but focused on his back and the back of his head
“Even at 17km per hour, it (impact from the EMRS van) was not strong enough. Even if a child were to sent falling would result in nothing much (injury), what more an adult,” he said
“The video (of an accident involving a bus hitting a man from the back) showed the bus hitting the man, but he fell onto his side (at the side of the road), and stood up again
“That (bus was travelling) faster than 17km per hour (the maximum upper limit at which the HKL experts hypothesised the EMRS van was reversing)
“Even if there are fractures, it would only be a bit here and there. In this case, the man (in the video involving the bus) could still stand up
“When I compare this to the EMRS, I just do not see how it reversing could cause the victim to sustain injuries (revealed in the autopsy),” he said
Rebuttal of HKL experts' reportShahrom then trained his guns on the two HKL experts’ postmortem report on Adib, noting the purported contradiction between its hypothesis on the victim coming out of the EMRS on his own and being hit in the back by the van’s left passenger door, and its conclusion stating uncertainty whether the victim was pulled out of the vehicle or on his own
Syazlin: Could you have a look at the post mortem report (on Adib) and give your opinion about it
Shahrom: This post mortem report made by the two (HKL) experts is satisfactory. But then I look at its conclusion on pages 28 and 29 and became confused
There are three issues, whether the deceased came out of the vehicle by himself, the second issue is whether the victim was pulled out by another person, and the third issue is whether the deceased suffered injuries due to being squeezed between two surfaces
What made me confused is that one statement laid out a hypothesis that the victim came down from the EMRS (van) and was thrown to the road curb
But the conclusion on page 28 states it is unknown whether (Adib) came down himself or was pulled out by someone else. The original statement was that he came down on his own. The experts’ own statements are contradictory
The conclusion on page 29 states the experts do not know whether the victim was squeezed or not
One said (Adib) impacted the road curb and then the other states uncertain how the squeezing could happen. These are contradictions
Even so, the facts contained in the post mortem (report) are still satisfactory and correct
In my opinion, there cannot be contradictions in opinion from the same experts
In reference to his earlier testimony on his conclusion that Adib’s injuries was consistent with the victim being pulled out by another person while a second person kicked at the EMRS van’s front left passenger door, Shahrom pointed out that these attackers may have not come from the angry crowd that caused both a First Rescue Tender (FRT) lorry and the EMRS van to reverse on the night of the riots
Previous inquest proceedings have played a 48-second video recorded by an earlier witness’ smartphone, which showed an angry crowd throwing bottles and advancing on the FRT lorry, which led to the FRT lorry to reverse, followed by the EMRS van behind the FRT lorry also reversing
Shahrom said there is a possibility that there was a separate group of rioters behind the FRT lorry and at the side of the EMRS van as it reversed, which explains how Adib got pulled out
“However, after viewing the (48-second) video, I did not see any of the rioters at the front of the FRT manage to reach the EMRS van where the victim was
“There is a bigger possibility of a separate group of people coming at Adib from the rear
“Suddenly, he (Adib) was attacked and (pulled out) by another person. This person (who pulled Adib out) was not from the group of rioters at the front (of the FRT lorry),” Shahrom said
The 29th witness also pointed out that the notion that Adib was pulled out by another person is strengthened by the discovery of two helmets inside the EMRS van
He noted that firefighter reenactments proved that the helmets could not have come from being thrown from a distance and crash through both the left side window and rear window of the van
The court then was shown video of firefighter reenactments, where one firefighter threw a helmet from a metre away and it bounced off the side EMRS van window
Another two videos played showed a firefighter standing an arm’s length away from the van’s left side window and rear window respectively, where each firefighter trying to bash the windows in with crash helmets
The left side window gave way after three knocks while the rear window held off longer and crashed in after eight knocks
Shahrom pointed out that the 48-second video (showing the angry crowd advancing on the FRT lorry and EMRS van) bourne out this possibility as he pointed out at segment between 38 and 39 seconds, which he said showed the inside of the van was lit due to both the left side and rear windows having been shattered in by at least one attacker
Syazlin: With your expertise and experience, please tell us what is the most probable event that happened to Adib
Shahrom: What most probably happened that night was Adib had opened the EMRS van (front left) door loosely to look at the back, his arm was straight, then another person grabbed him
At that time, he (Adib) had not anticipated and thought that he would be harmed
“When the victim was pulled out, simultaneously another person kicked the EMRS (open front left) van door, causing (Adib’s) injuries on his front right chest, fracture of the ribs at the front and back, and then the door was kicked at again by either the same person or a different one
“At this time, his (Adib’s right) arm hit the triangle-shapped tombol (door knob) at the edge of the door
“The victim was pulled downward then upward, causing his (left back) to hit the upright part of the EMRS side door jamb
“Then he was pushed and he fell onto the surface of the road, and was dragged (across the road) via his shirt collar
Dispute over recallProceedings later took a slightly heated turn when Faten applied to the court to recall Hafizam to the witness stand
This turn of events caused both the deceased family’s lawyer Mohd Kamaruzaman A Wahab and the ministry’s lawyer Syazlin Mansor to protest against the witness-recall
Kamaruzaman argued that the recall should not be allowed as an inquest is different from criminal proceedings where such witness-recalls are the norm
Faten: This is not a rebuttal but to help (the court) look back at the theories and analysis made (by expert witnesses)
Syazlin: HKL experts (Hafizam and Mohd Shah) had already given all their statements (during testimony in past inquest)
Do we also need to recall back (Hafizam and Mohd Shah)? Then there would be no end to it
Coroner Rofiah Mohamad then sought to resolve the issue by fixing Monday at 10.30am next week for submissions by all parties on whether Hafizam should be called back to testify
The coroner reminded them that if in the event that she allowed the inquest conducting officer’s application, Hafizam could be recalled back as early as the day after the hearing (Tuesday next week). - Mkini

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