Malaysia

Forensic pathologist tells court Sarbaini fell accidentally to his death

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Senior Customs officer Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed fell accidentally to his death, a forensic pathologist told the coroner’s court today.

Ahmad Sarbaini, the Selangor Customs assistant director, is believed to have fell from the third floor pantry of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Jalan Cochrane here on April 6 and landed on the badminton court on the first floor.

Associate professor Dr Faridah Mohd Noor, a forensic pathologist and lecturer at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia had conducted the post-mortem on Ahmad Sarbaini on April 6.

Faridah tells Ahmad Sarbaini’s family lawyer Awtar Singh that it was “accidental death based on the injuries and circumstantial evidence.”

The autopsy showed multiple abrasions, lacerations and bone fractures, on his head, face, hands, legs, knees and elbow, including severe brain damage.

Faridah concluded based on the post-mortem that Ahmad Sarbaini had died from severe head injuries and positional asphyxia due to fall from height.

Positional asphyxia is a form of asphyxia that occurs when someone’s position prevents them from breathing adequately. In this case, Faridah explained that Ahmad Sarbaini’s breathing was blocked by the bleeding in his mouth and nose.

Faridah also stated that Ahmad Sarbaini was alive when he fell, and agreed with deputy public prosecutor Hanim Rashid that he tried to break the fall with his left wrist, fracturing it.

The forensic pathologist said rigour mortis had already set in when she arrived on the scene at 10.30am with investigating officer DSP Sapiee Ahmad, adding that this usually occurred 30 minutes after death.

Rigour mortis is caused by a chemical change in the muscles after death, causing the limbs to become stiff and difficult to move.

She said the body of the deceased was warm at the time, and estimated the time of death as between 7 and 11am.

Awtar asked Faridah if it was possible if the deceased was thrown out the window.

“In my opinion, if he was thrown out, there will be struggling signs but the post-mortem report did not find any defence wounds,” she said.

Faridah added that the deceased had to be sedated to be thrown out without a struggle.

Toxicology report also showed no signs of alcohol, common drugs or pesticides, she told the court.

“There were no internal injuries on the chest and abdomen and test shows Sarbaini did not suffer from heart attack,” she said.

Faridah said there were no signs of struggle and no suicide note. There were no defensive wounds and no hesitation marks.

MACC lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah cited part of Faridah’s report stating “based on pattern of injury . . . deceased fell accidentally”.

Faridah agreed with Shafee it was possible the deceased did not have time to break his fall as it was more common for people to break the fall with their legs, rather than their wrists, such as in this case.

The inquest continues tomorrow at 9am.

 

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