Whilst the country is still grieving and traumatized over the tragic death of young Andrea Bharatt, we are now faced with more questions surrounding thr the efficacy of the arms of the State and the functioning of criminal justice system.
The media reported that the State conducted autopsy was inconclusive, that is, that the cause of death could not be established. This has serious implications for any future prosecution of persons who may have played a role in Andrea’s killing. Without an official cause of death, a charge of murder would not stand.
We then learnt that a privately funded autopsy was conducted by another pathologist at a non-state facility. This means that evidence was handed over to private individuals and the chain of custody was broken. How then are the findings of this procedure, which are reportedly in conflict with the findings of the state pathologist, to be viewed? What is the evidential value and how would it affect future prosecutions if anyone is to be brought to justice?
This second examination has also called into question the proficiency of state forensic examinations, with many citizens now questioning whether other autopsies ought to be re-done privately. This is a level of chaos that cannot be left unaddressed by the Government whose responsibility it is to ensure that investigations and prosecutions are not compromised.
I call upon the Attorney General to take immediate steps to have an international forensic expert brought in to conduct a third examination at a state supervised facility so that a fair and independent forensic examination result would be available to the police and the DPP for consideration in the event that they have to consider charges.
There is adequate precedent for this, in the case of Daniel Guerra who died in 2011 and whose cause of death was questioned. After a third autopsy confirmed that he was murdered, charges of murder were then brought. This third autopsy was championed at the time by the Honourable Kamla Persad Bissessar who as PM saw it as her duty to provide every possible resource to fight crime and ensure that justice was served, and paid particular attention to cases involving the murder of children. Then Attorney General Anand Ramlogan ensured that the needful was done, thereby preserving the integrity of the criminal justice system.
I call upon AG Al Rawi to do likewise and immediately procure the services of an independent expert who could conduct the necessary examination forthwith and ensure that those responsible for Andrea’s death are brought to justice and do not benefit from any loopholes or perceived deficiencies in the system.