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Police asked for post-mortem, inquest told

KUALA LUMPUR, 7 May 2009: The forensics consultant of the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) in Klang today told the inquest into actress K Sujatha’s death that police had made a request for a post-mortem to be done in her case.

Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim told the Coroner’s Court that it was compulsory for a post-mortem to be done when police made an official request for it.

“In Sujatha’s case, police issued the necessary documents and the medical officer on duty at the hospital’s mortuary on the day in question (25 June 2007), Dr K Saravanan, should have made sure it was done,” Khairul explained.

Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Geethan Ram Vincent if the procedure should be followed even if the family of the deceased did not wish for it (post-mortem), he replied in the affirmative.

Khairul, 51, said that as the head of department (HOD), he had asked Saravanan why the post-mortem was not carried out and was told by the doctor that it was unnecessary because the cause of death was stated in the burial permit.

To another question, Khairul agreed to a suggestion by Geethan that if the post-mortem had been carried out, the hospital would have been able to arrive at conclusive findings as to the cause of death.

Khairul was testifying in the inquest into the death of Sujatha, 28, on 25 June 2007, four days after being admitted to HTAR as a result of accidental ingestion of paraquat.

Questioned by counsel Datuk K Kumaraendran whether under Section 330 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) if an investigating officer (IO) was satisfied with the cause of death, he or she could instruct for a post-mortem not to be done, Khairul agreed that the IO could do this.

Khairul also agreed that in criminal cases, the final decision as to whether a post-mortem should be conducted lay with the police.

Kumaraendran is holding a watching brief for Maika Holdings Berhad chief executive officer S Vell Paari.

To another question from Coroner Mohd Faizi Che Abu, whether he knew if the police had retracted the post-mortem request, Khairul said he did not know anything about this.

Meanwhile, another witness, Mahaletchumy Kaveri, 42, a medical assistant at HTAR’s emergency ward, said Dr S P.Sakthiveloo (the first doctor to treat Sujatha when she was admitted to HTAR emergency ward) had asked for her assistance to change Sujatha’s clothes when the actress was being administered emergency treatment on 19 June 2007.

She said she did not see any signs of injuries or bruises on Sujatha’s body when she was changing Sujatha’s clothes.

To another question from Geethan, Mahaletchumy said she had also helped to bathe Sujatha’s body and also did not notice any injuries then.

The inquest continues tomorrow. — Bernama

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