Malaysiakini Letter

Adib's death – coroner's inquest a step towards justice

G Selva
Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | The investigation into fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim's murder has taken a turn as the attorney-general has called for an inquest and this is within his prerogative as stipulated in Chapter 32 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Evidence would have been scrutinised from the initial classification of murder based upon the first information and related reports, facts alleged, investigations at the scene of the crime, photographs, scrutiny of the vehicles in question, studying all the statements of witnesses acquainted with the case complemented finally and most crucially with the opinion of the forensic pathologist before making a decision to go with a coroner's inquest.

It is not out of the ordinary for a case that has been initially classified as murder to be brought to court by way of an inquest. Such cases in inquiries of deaths through criminal investigations can evolve into a graver or a lesser offence at the completion of investigations.

We must always remember that criminal investigations are not only there in a criminal justice system to prove a case but they can also exonerate those unjustly accused of an offence.

Cases are classified initially by the police based on reports lodged at the outset of the case. The facts relayed will be the facts in issue by the complainant.

In this case, the police acted on the facts in the first information report. Arrests made earlier were expected and normal by way of procedure.

The clarity of the case progresses as investigators take time to piece the jigsaw puzzle together especially when there are multiple versions to the “facts in issue”.

There is also the possibility that facts in the first information report are not accurate for reasons best known to the maker, and that entails a different course of action.

Witnesses acquainted with the case will be interviewed and those believed to be suspects will be detained. The statements recorded will be compared to the evidence collected at the scene of the crime and/or weapons seized. If that is the case.

This will assist the police in deciding the course of action they will take when making recommendations to the AG.

There have been allegations of different versions of Adib's cause of death and some are said to distrust the police in the manner investigations are being conducted.

An inquest will provide the opportunity for any party to produce evidence to the coroner through proceedings. It will be neutral in that sense.

A coroner's inquest will make the facts transparent complemented with the fact that all interested parties can be involved through legal representation as “friends of the court” (amicus curiae) during the proceedings.

Normally the victim's statement is crucial for the verification of facts. It is unclear as to how much Adib assisted in the investigations before passing on. However, this will become transparent during the inquest.

Upon Adib's passing, the police have had to depend on the post-mortem and forensic science to ascertain the cause of Adib's death. Forensic science is accurate on that score as the injuries on and within the body gives a clear picture as to the cause of death.

The whole investigation would have become clear upon the completion of the post-mortem and the expert opinion of the forensic pathologist.

It is opined that all parties should be patient and allow the law to take its course without fear or favour, in making sure that justice will be done for Adib and his loved ones.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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