Pathologist: No evidence man shot at close range

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, December 09, 2018

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AN international forensic pathologist on Friday testified that there was no evidence to suggest that the man who was allegedly shot dead by three policemen in Clarendon seven years ago was shot at close range.

Corporal Kevin Adams, Constable Carl Bucknor, and District Constable Howard Brown, who were assigned to the May Pen Police Station, are currently on trial in the Home Circuit Court for the alleged murder of Andrew Bisson.

It is alleged that on September 5 Bisson was among a group of people at a garage in Corn Piece District in Hayes, Clarendon, when he was taken inside his one-room house and executed.

Dr Rohan Ruwanpura, who was then the Government pathologist who had performed the post-mortem on Bisson's body, on Thursday told the court that the victim was shot four times and that one of the wounds was to his left ear.

He had also opined that the ear injury would have been from a gun that would have been within one metre of the now-deceased man when it was fired, and that the injury would have rendered him unconscious within seconds and would have ultimately killed him within minutes.

But on Friday during cross-examination from Brown's lawyer, Dwight Reece, when asked if he had observed any burning, blackening or tattooing mark on Bisson's body, he said no such marks were found.

The Sri Lankan pathologist went on to explain that those marks would only be evident if the victim was shot within one metre of the muzzle of the gun.

The pathologist was also questioned by the defence about his opinion that the victim was shot twice while lying on his back.

Dr Ruwanpura had told the court on Thursday that along with the injury to Bisson's left ear, he was also shot in his abdominal area and twice in the region of his chest, and that those two final shots hit him while he was lying on the ground.

The doctor had explained Thursday that he had observed that the two wounds were atypical, which means that the person would have been shot while being against a hard surface. He said that after looking at his initial report, coupled with photographs of the scene which he had received from the Independent Commission of Investigations, he came to the conclusion that Bisson was shot while lying on the floor.

But when asked by Adams' lead attorney, Queen's Counsel Valerie Neita-Robertson, if the injury could have been sustained while Bisson was leaning against a wall or a gas stove that was inside his house, the doctor said that could've been possible.

However, he disagreed with a suggestion from the attorney that, based on a view in the ballistic community, the wearing of tight clothes could have caused a similar atypical wound.

The doctor had also previously told the court that based on his assessment of the injury, the victim would have received the first shot to his abdomen and the second one to his left ear after crouching, and would have fallen to the floor because the shot to the ear would have rendered him unconscious.

But he agreed with the suggestion from Neita-Robertson that it could also be possible the victim could have fallen to the ground while running and shots were being simultaneously fired.

In the meantime the doctor, during further cross-examination, told the court that he had erred by not including in his two reports that the ear injury would have been fatal.

He was also asked why he had not stated in his first report that the two last wounds were sustained by the victim while he had been lying on the floor. The forensic expert responded by saying, while he had suspicions, he came to that conclusion after looking at pictures of the scene and looking at the position of the blood marks.

Dr Ruwanpura consequently denied suggestions from the defence that he acted unprofessionally by using information from a third party in his opinion.

The trial will continue tomorrow before Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.

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