Mzuzu Cell death: Court orders Police to sign autopsy report

The Mzuzu High Court has given the Malawi Police Service seven days to co-sign an autopsy report for Edison Msiska, a former Natural Resources College student, who died in Police custody on January 29, 2012.

Judge Dingswayo Madise gave the order on Friday after prosecution witness number four, renowned Pathologist Doctor Charles Dzamalala testified in the ongoing trial of six Police Officers from Mzuzu Police Station, who are alleged to have had a hand in the brutal death of Msiska.

Judge Madise has specifically ordered the lead Cop, who led a team that witnessed Msiska’s autopsy at Mzuzu Central Hospital Mortuary,  Northern Region Police Operations Officer Isaac Maluwa to sign or in default face contempt of court charges.

Dzamalala: Testified

The six CID Cops, Inspector Gertrude Mukhondya, Constable Bertha Mtandi Chavula, Constable George Kamphe, Constable Joel Kapunda, Constable Lucious Mpakeni and Constable Victor Nsoloma have been charged with murder contrary to section 201 of the Penal Code.

They all deny the charge.

Hearing started on August 7th and was supposed to  recommence on August 21st 2012, but the State made an emergency application to the Court to allow Dzamalala to testify since in the coming days he will leaving for further studies in the UK.

The State which comprises Senior State Advocate Josephine Gwaza from the Director of Public Prosecutions and Assistant Commissioner of Police Barbra Mchenga has lined up eight witnesses. So far four are remaining.

According to the report dated 2nd February 2012, a copy Nyasa Times obtained, Msiska cause of death is listed as “severe traumatic intracranial haemorrhage due to head injuries consistent with blunt trauma from serial episodes of assault. Severe traumatic bleeding into the chest and abdominal cavity with clear evidence of strangulation or an attempt at strangulation.”

The trial

In his evidence in chief, Dzamalala read the seven paged report, which he later tendered in Court as part of his evidence. He also tendered Msiska’s autopsy pictures.

Defense Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company quizzed Dzamalala on the pictures saying they were not dated hence difficult to know when they were taken.

“By looking at the pictures it is difficult to know it was Edison,” Kadzipatike sought clarification on the record.

But Dzamalala said his photos were dated adding that it was him who did the examination.

“The stated photos I recognize them. The photos were of Edison,” he said.

Kadzipatike also wanted to find out how much Dzamalala was paid to do the autopsy but he refused to disclose saying he was paid by the Malawi Human Rights Commission and the family.

Another defense lawyer Victor Gondwe wanted to find out how much influence did the case history (events, stories or hearsay surrounding the deceased death) had on the outcome of the autopsy report.

“I was not influenced by the case history. Most of the times I do autopsy without history. Edison’s wounds were fresh at the time of death,” said Dzamalala adding “I was called to testify in my field. I do not know who caused the death”

He reiterated that it was the worst case of assault he has ever witnessed in his 13 year old career.

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