No pathologist to testify at murder trials
All murder cases in the current Criminal Assizes have been put on the wait list because of the unavailability of the pathologist who performed the autopsies.
Presently there are seven murders on the Court's Cause list presently and more is expected to be added for the 2016 January criminal session.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Evelina Baptiste has expressed frustration at the non- unavailability of pathologist to give evidence in the murder cases now before the court. Baptiste wants the matter rectified urgently since it is preventing the administration of justice.
"We can't do without a pathologist…we need to fix this matter urgently and make it a priority to get those who performed the autopsy back on island to give evidence," the DPP said.
In response Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. David Johnson said he did not know that the State was in that situation.
Dr. Johnson said that over the past ten years the Cuban government supplied pathologists who work on two-three year contracts. They have returned to Cuba.
"Sometimes, if that pathologist did a case (an autopsy) and that case in not yet ready before the pathologist returns then that becomes a challenge," he said.
Dr. Johnson said pathology specialists are hard to find in the region but the government is willing to deal with the matter. No one is available locally.
"The country needs a pathologist and so it tends to solve this through friendly countries and the Republic of Cuba has been the one assisting us. It must be noted that the pathologist is not only there for the court…it's much more than that and entails a lot of work," Dr. Johnson said.
He said if there is a Dominican who is willing to work in the public health system and the Ministry of Health he was sure that the government would be more than willing to look at that.
"Pathology is a priority area of study for us and if there are persons willing to study pathology, I am sure that they will be assisted by the government in doing so," he said. "I can tell you that this experience is not good, we once had that situation and I don't want that to ever happen to us again," the CMO stated.