By Dale Andrews
The second autopsy performed on the body of Bridgette Gangadeen by Trinidadian Pathologist, Professor Herbert Daisley, has created some controversy that could lead to a landmark decision by the prosecution in the event of a charge.
Government Pathologist, Dr. Nehaul Singh, in his initial post mortem report indicated that the woman died as a result of a crushed skull, which is consistent with the version of events prior to her death given by her husband, Professor Daisley in his subsequent autopsy found evidence of strangulation.
The woman’s husband has been released from police custody for the second time on $200,000 station bail. Further, there is no indication of other charges he will face concerning his wife’s death.
While police have not yet unearthed sufficient evidence to institute criminal charges against the woman’s husband, her relatives are adamant that she was murdered.
It was the dead woman’s relatives who had sought the services of the foreign pathologist whose findings appeared to raise questions.
Professor Daisley is to provide a more detailed report based on several other tests he is conducting.
“A further report with the photographs would be forthcoming and it is for the state to make that determination (on what weight will be given to the second autopsy) attorney-at-law Basil Williams said.
Williams is retained to look into the interest of the dead woman’s family.
The findings of the foreign pathologist prompted investigators to re-arrest Dwarka Gangadeen, pending the decision of the DPP.
More controversy arose when Dwarka Gangadeen obtained a court order to halt the cremation of his wife’s body last Saturday, with the intention of obtaining a third opinion on the cause of her death. But according to attorney-at-law, Senior Counsel Bernard De Santos, the family was advised against such a move.
De Santos is retained by the woman’s husband. The Senior Counsel said that he has not seen the report on the second autopsy and was thus restricted in his views on the issue.
“All I’ve seen in the newspaper is that this gentleman has said that he found evidence of strangulation. But you know, forensic medicine is a very technical business. I am prepared to look at it when the occasion arises because right now the man has not been charged,” De Santos said.
But how much weight will the state give to the findings of the foreign pathologist?
De Santos said that that question is relevant to the matter since the State Pathologist, Dr. Nehaul Singh, is a neutral party, while Professor Daisley was contracted by the woman’s relatives who did not agree with the initial findings.
“The pathologist for the state is a neutral gentleman who does his job and comes to a reasonable conclusion based on what he has seen. Maybe he may wish to pronounce on, if this thing was there, would he have seen it; could it have happened after his post mortem, all sorts of questions will be asked. I will like to deal with those if and when the man is charged,” De Santos told reporters outside the High Court.
Attorney Basil Williams defended the findings of Professor Daisley, and said that it can be used as rebuttal evidence. “If the government is going to tender the Government Pathologist’s post mortem, then any other post mortem could be used,” Williams said.
But his observations were countered by De Santos, who said that Williams is creating a conundrum.
“Who is going to tender it (second post mortem)? Because if the state is going to tender their own, I don’t know if the state is going to tender something else,” De Santos said.
However Williams said that the state cannot ignore Professor Daisley’s post mortem report.
“He’s a Professor, highly qualified. He’s been in the field for 35 years. He lectures at the university and all of that. I don’t see how our authorities could ignore the results of his post mortem,” Williams said.
Williams added that Professor Daisley has also performed more than 35,000 post mortem examinations.
But are the findings of Professor Daisley an indictment on the competence of Government Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh?
De Santos does not think so. “I have done how many murder cases and this gentleman, Mr. Mootoo and all of them, reputable gentlemen, who do their work as best as they could. But I must confess that I would have thought that perhaps they don’t have the resources that the pathologists in the outside world might have,” the Senior Counsel pointed out.
De Santos recalled a case that he was associated with in the past. According to De Santos, a Guyanese man had started to poison his wife in Canada and was able to fool four Canadian doctors who had dealt with the matter.
“The irony is that the man who in fact solved that mystery was Dr. Roger Luncheon. He was able to show that the type of poison this man was using was a sophisticated thing and he was able to show almost conclusively,” De Santos recalled.
But despite the two initial arguments, both attorneys resolved to deal definitively with the matter if Dwarka Gandadeen is charged.
Prior to the second autopsy, the police had prepared an initial report which was submitted to the DPP for her advice.
But the DPP returned the file requesting clarification on several points in the police report. This newspaper made several attempts to contact the Director of Public Prosecutions, Shalimar Ali-Hack, for her take on what weight the state will give to the second autopsy, but these efforts were futile, since the DPP did not return a telephone call as was promised.
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