Experienced government pathologist DrNehaul Singh Thursday said improper procedures were used in the handling of the burnt remains of the eight men who were found burnt to death in a mining camp at Lindo Creek in 2008.
Testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the incident, Dr Singh explained that he was contacted by Senior Superintendent Edgar Thomas on June 21, 2008, a Sunday, to travel to Lindo Creek where the charred remains were still stacked in a pile.
However, that journey was futile because of the rough terrain, which caused the Dr Singh and team to retreat.
Dr Singh said a debriefing session with law enforcement officials was subsequently conducted where it was agreed that the area will be cleared so he can return to the site to examine the bones. But this plan never materialized.
“On Monday, I was at home looking at the news and I heard that they had brought all the bones out and I said ‘good for them, less work for me’,” he told the COI.
Dr Singh denounced the manner in which the bones were handled as he explained before the Commission the best way to have transported the remains.
“Eight people are there.You have to be careful with how you are removing these things. The problem is, you have to get it separated as much as possible; you just can’t go and scoop them up and bring it in a bag,” Dr Singh explained.
He said ideally the bones should have been transported in eight parcels.
“I don’t know if they were on top of each other; it doesn’t matter because you must see an outline…so you put them separately so it is easier to examine,” he said.
Dr Singh said he also proposed that the government retain the services of a forensic anthropologist – someone who specializes in the examination of bones – and he had even recommended his friend from the U.S.A.
Meanwhile, after learning that the remains were removed from the crime scene through the media, Dr Singh said he expected that it would be sent to him for a postmortem examination but instead he received a call from the then Commission of Police Henry Greene advising otherwise.
“He said to me that the government is going to fly in a team from Jamaica with a pathologist and crime scene people and I said to him that I am not going to be observing anybody,” Dr Singh said.
The Jamaican team comprised of an Indian national whose signature replaced Dr Singh’s on the coroner’s order for the postmortem examination.
Dr Singh said once the Jamaican team took over, he had no role with the Lindo Creek remains. He said he never witnessed any postmortem nor saw any report.
It remains unclear whether the Jamaican team compiled a postmortem examination report.
COI Attorney Patrice Henry previously stated that he was not aware of any such report.
Henry had made this revelation when he challenged the testimony of then Crime Chief and now Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud.
Persaud testified that there was forensic and scientific evidence to support the police’s conclusion that it was the ‘Fineman’ gang that was responsible for killing the miners but Henry contended that without a postmortem examination report, there was no scientific evidence.
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