After 11 days of anxiety and suspense over the result of the autopsy conducted on late Ikoku mechanic, Chima Ikwunado, the report may have been submitted to the Rivers State Police Command.
The Pathologist, Dr. Cornell Chukwuegbo, engaged by late Chima Ikwunado’s family, gave the indication during a telephone chat with The Tide, yesterday, but said the autopsy report is not for public consumption.
Chukwuegbo, however, said the report as, at press time, has been submitted by the police command’s pathologist, and urged our reporter to apply through the right channels to get a copy of the report.
It would be recalled that the Pathologist engaged by the Rivers State Police Command, Dr. Musa Stevens, after conclusion of a five hour autopsy at the mortuary of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), penultimate Monday, said the report would be ‘handed in’ after 10 days, saying there were no incisions or cuts in the late mechanic’s body to show that a previous autopsy was done.
Stevens had also said that global best practices would be followed, assuring that the autopsy would reflect the true cause of Chima Ikwunado’s death.
But speaking on the autopsy result in the telephone chat with our reporter, yesterday, Chukwuegbo said the autopsy report could not be made public except through the appropriate channels.
He asked, “When did they start making autopsy report public? Go to the police and get it. Ask your lawyer to apply to the police to get the report. Autopsy reports are not for public consumption. It has to pass through the normal process. Nobody is restricting you from seeing it but you have to go through the normal channel.”
When asked what the right channels were, the pathologist said, “The normal process is that a lawyer will apply to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the Ministry of Justice, the public prosecution people, and they will give you a copy of the report. That is the proper thing. It is not something for the public.
“Autopsy report is the communication between the pathologist and the corpse. So, if the pathologist wants to go to jail, he should tell the public what the report is without the court which ordered it knowing about it.
“The most important thing is that; let them get it. It is about now being submitted. The attending pathologist is the one whose duty it is to submit it, and by now, he should be with the police submitting it as we speak.”
Chukwuegbo, said he has been part of the autopsy ordered, noting that the report that would be presented would be a unanimous view of both experts – pathologists.
“It is one. I have signed. If we write two; that is a mad house. It is not done anywhere. It is a report, it is scientific. Any other pathologist will see the same thing and write the same thing.
“Moreover, the police have given the Coroner form. My duty is just to make sure that what we have seen is what is documented, and we sign, and it goes. It is not a big deal,” the pathologist stated.
Meanwhile, the family of the late Chima Ikwunado and the Ikoku Spare Parts Dealers have sued the police to court over the mechanic’s death in custody, and alleged torture of the Ikoku Four by the Police E-Crack Team, also known as the Commissioner’s Squad.
The Tide reports that the case is before Justice J.K. Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
When contacted, yesterday for confirmation of receipt of the autopsy report, spokesman of the Rivers State Police Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, said he travelled out of Port Harcourt.
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