Saturday, July 20, 2024

Single bullet killed Lawrence Banda-Dr Mcheleng’anga

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By Nelson Zulu

A Single bullet shot at UPND member Lawrence Banda, in 2019, in Kaoma District led to his death, a Pathologist Adam Mcheleng’anga has told the Mongu High Court.

In his testimony: Dr. Adam Mcheleng’anga said he examined the body of Lawrence Banda at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) at the behest of Coroner Mwaka Mikalile.

He said from his findings, Banda died of a bullet wound inflicted on him during the Kaoma by-election.

Details in the following verbatim:…….

Pathologist testimony before High Court Judge Charles Zulu at the Mongu High Court

Prosecution: Our next witness

My name is Dr. Mcheleng’anga Adam, I am 43 years, I reside in Lusaka’s Salama Park.

Prosecution: I apply that the list of witnesses be amended that we add the name of Dr. Adam Mcheleng’anga for now.

Defence: No objection.

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: I am a State forensic expert, I am employed by the Zambia Police Service, and based at UTH, where my duties are to investigate deaths, and investigate sudden death and un expected death, deaths in custody to mention but a few. Among my academic qualification I hold a post graduate certificate in forensic pathology (And other many academic qualification).
At the moment I have conducted about 3000 post-mortems, and in addition to that I am involved in the academics in the teaching of forensic pathology to pathologists in Zambia. I am an author of academic papers and journals and on the subject …

Prosecution: Witness, kindly state why you are in this court for?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: I conducted the postmortem examination in 2019 in October to be more specific, on the 9th October 2019. I received an order for postmortem examination, from a coroner at a time Honourable Mikalile that was brought to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), by police officers from Zambia Police at Headquarters and the attending officer was detective constable Nyondo.

My Lord there were other police officers and relatives as witnesses from who I obtained the history of the deceased. My Lord history was obtained from officers whom I referred to as attending officers and from other police officers from the service and the relative who identified the body.

And the history was that the body of the deceased was involved in an alleged shooting in Kaoma after which the body was taken to the hospital and died.

After that I proceeded to conducted the postmortem. The procedures I carried out to conduct the postmortem included the photographing of the body, external examination of the body, I removed the cloth of the deceased he was wearing which I handed over to the officers, I conducted the standard internal examination.

By internal examination of the body, I mean the cavities of the body were examined, that means the head, the chest, and the abdominal cavities. I did not conduct the CT scan, after conducting these procedures, I might say that the significant findings, were limited to the head, firstly I must say that on examination, there was signs of medical intervention, so there was a catheter , a tube that is inserted to the penis to the bladder to help urinating, and then I noted that there was a wound on the head that had sutures, I removed the skin from the skull and again I noted that the skull or the bone that covers the brain, on the front of the head was,… had a defect, in other words there was a hole within the bone of the head and then a lot of fractures, breakage of bone, moving from the central area.

After I removed the top part of this bone, I refer to as skull I also observed that the brain had a lot of haemorrhage referee as subarrachiod, this is bleeding underneath, on the tissue that covers the brain. My Lord I took pictures of all these procedures I am talking about. After that I went further to remove the brain and again examined the bone that houses the brain. My line in doing this I also looked for the projectile, after I finished examining the brain, and the head I did not find any projectile, from there my lord I shifted my attention to examine the chest. I examined the abalone the chest cavity in fact, and found that these areas where unremarkable. They were within normal, my lord I proceeded and collected blood and stored it, and went further to conclude that based on the circumstances and my postmortem findings, the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.
My lord and that the entry wound and exit wound were at the same point. And that phenomenal where the entry continues with the exit wound, we call that key hole deformity. I also, I am of the opinion that the death was, the body was struck by one bullet, and that the wound, the injury was incapacitating. That means that the deceased was not able to carry any voluntary activities. After I did all these procedures, then went ahead and authored a report, and I compiled photos, that were handed over to the investigating officers.

Prosecution: Witness the examination was done on whose body.

Dr Mcheleng’anga: On a 24-year-old man identified by a relative as Lawrence Banda.
Prosecution: You said you got pictures and prepared an album?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: I will be able to identify both my postmortem report and the photo album I prepared.

Prosecution: Tell the Court the features that will help you identify both the report and album?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: I will begin with the post-mortem report, it is on a letter head, coat of arms and police…… for the photo album, has a post-mortem number…my signature too, which I signed.

Prosecution: My lord that suffices, may this witness look at the documents he has told Court about…

Dr. Mcheleng’anga identifies the documents.
Prosecution: And what would you want to do with the documents you have identified?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: I would like to tender these as my evidence.

Court: The Defence

Makebi: No objection my lord.

Prosecution: And witness, you speak to the content of the photos you would like the Court to be aware of…

Dr Mcheleng’anga: My Lord on the second page, page two, of the photo album, shows the appearance of the male that I received at UTH. And on page three, shows the bone that has been broken, and my lord it shows at the point at the front of the head the exit where it entered at the same point. My lord the entry and exit point of the bullet was the same point.

Cross Examination by the Defence:

Changano: Dr Mcheleng’anga: Good afternoon?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: Good afternoon my Lord?

Changano: The skull fracture, it is your testimony which we need to understand? Clarity to us, the question is where is the front bone? (Pointing at the forehead)

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: It is on the front bone, as opposed to the forehead.

Changano: You opened the skull and skin; you take it back as a doctor and a police officer watching you indicate that the entry point was here or there…explain where exactly you want us to understand the bullet entered from?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: The picture shows exactly the point where the bullet entered from.

Changano: Which part was the entry point? How do we understand?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: (He explains where the bullet entered while pointing above the forehead) Skull.

Another defence lawyer…

Makebi: How many types of autopsies are there?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: One clinical postmortem examination and this is generally requested by either the relatives or the doctors treating the deceased. Then there is forensic, and the forensic postmortem examination is conducted at the behest of the police. And authority to conduct postmortem by the coroner. And the objective of the forensic postmortem is based on the inquest act to determine the cause of death and identify the person who has died and find out the circumstances the person died.

Makebi: Start with verbal autopsy.

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: Verbal autopsy is verbal through interview from informants and this is a tool that has been developed by public health or WHO, to pick out causes of deaths aggregated cause of deaths in persons who are brought in dead. And there is no medical certificate of the cause of death, so when they tick the boxes, they answer against the question and there are many questions asked, it can be automated or a physician can interpret the cause and come up with what we call a probable cause of death.
My lord, there is nothing, referred to as a complete autopsy, is that which answers pertinent medical problems, as an example, if …we don’t do that because we want to minimise investigation ….

Makebi: You no longer do complete autopsy?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: It’s not that….

Makebi reads to the Court the article Dr. Mcheleng’anga wrote on causes of deaths on one of his research papers.

Makebi: Doc, do you remember writing that article?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: Yes, a consortium of doctors did and I was part of that.

Makebi: So doc this is a very fair question, without the inquiry from Kaoma Hospital could you conclude that the person was dead at the time he was taken to Kaoma Hospital?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: My lord it is…I can make reference from the postmortem findings.

Makebi: Doc it is a very very fair question, I asked you in what state was he in at the time he was taken to Kaoma Hospital? And your answer was no. If you didn’t inquire then you would not know whether he was dead or alive?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: My lord this is why I am saying it is a very difficult question

Makebi: (Interrupts) You wouldn’t know, isn’t it?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: Unfortunately, it is not a yes or no answer my lord.

Makebi: Would you know whether we are talking about verbal autopsy without asking the necessary questions?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: So, as I said, I don’t.

Makebi: (Again) Doc you will have an opportunity to explain my colleagues you will take you through, for now you can answer the questions as I put them to you (pointing at the prosecution). Would you know without being informed?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: I have answered….

Makebi: Very well I will move on, you have indicated that there were some sort of intervention and the medical intervention was on the part of the head, such medical intervention, only carried out if the person is satisfied that there could be a life in that body. Right?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: Yes.

Makebi: Meaning that there could be a life in that body, yes or no? Meaning that he was alive?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: (Wants to clarify but Makebi the defence lawyer insist that he answers, he will have an opportunity to clarify through the prosecution)

Makebi: The time they were suturing, the time they were trying to stop the blood means that he was still alive, right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: Yes.

Makebi: So, if you do not know you can’t then conclude that he was dead at the time he was taken. Right?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: No.

Makebi: You can’t conclude that he was dead at the time he was at Kaoma Hospital.

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: I was not there…

Makebi: So, you can’t conclude not so?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: No.

Makebi: I will take you to page 5 of the postmortem report, and the photo album. Doc if I said that the injury was caused by the force of some object and caused trauma, will you agree with me?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: Yes my lord.

Makebi: You have answered it not so? And the reason you had concluded that it was a gunshot wound is because of the history you were given. Right?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: No.

Makebi: Did you find the projectile?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: No my lord.

Makebi: But what you know is that the frontal part of the head was impacted. Right?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: What I know is that it was a gunshot wound and that would by the gunshot at the frontal of the head was caused by a projectile.

Makebi: Is it your submission that such a wound can only be cause by a projectile?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: (fails to answer).

Makebi: It is your conclusion that a projectile can only be a bullet?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: It depends in the context of this.

Makebi: A projectile cannot only be a bullet, right?

Dr. Mcheleng’nga: (Keeps quiet, thinking)…

Makebi: It can be a missile, it can be a stone, right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: no not a stone.

Makebi: A stone can be a projectile to, it could be.

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: No.

Makebi: It could be a spear…

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: A projectile is something that is propelled by a burel (force) duct…that is what I mean in this sense.

Makebi: In this sense we are not talking, because we are not restricted. A projectile can be any moving object towards a target. Right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: That is correct.

Makebi: As much the fact a person moving at a speed and hit into a stationary object the injury that may be caused maybe similar to the injury which is caused by the projectile. Right?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: That is not true my lord. You are over simplifying….

Maklebi: no no no Doc doc allow me to over simplify if I have to. That man has been charged with murder and he may be hanged if we don’t get this correct. Even if I over simplify this and I am correct, you have to say it is correct. So it must be a moving object, there must be velocity somewhere either by the object or a person or both right?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: My Lord ask the question.

Makebi: Doc I ask a question that if a large object is stationary and I run into that large object the injury caused because of my movement or velocity maybe be similar to that caused by a projectile to an object which may be stationary at that point, right?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: The answer to that is no, we see people falling ….

Mabeki: You say no, Doc do you know these two phrases, the cause of death and the manner of death?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: Yes, may Lord.

Makebi: What is cause of death:

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: The cause of death is any injury or disease that leads to caseation of life.

Makebi: Ok…and a manner of death?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: is injuries of circumstances in which one dies and there are five manners of death and are man homicide, natural, accident, suicide and undetermined.

Makebi: That is manner of death? And what was manner of death in this case?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: Manner of death is this case was suicide.

Makebi: And the cause of death:

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: The cause of death was natural.

Makebi: If I told you that the cause of death was hemorroges, can that be correct?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: We don’t have cause of death called hemorroges, hemorrage is a macehnism…

Makebi: So, in this case what was the mechanism of death?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: My lord is the mechanism in this particular case if the vital disruption of structures in the head.

Makebi: Doc, you told this Court that you took blood and stored it, do you have results from the blood samples you took?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: I am not sure, because I have not seen the results.

Makebi: So, the blood sample would tell us if this person was intoxicated, right?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: That is correct my lord.

Makebi: If we conclude that the person was intoxicated it could help us explain how the person died, right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: on mechanism…when you testing blood you are looking for a specific…(Makebi interrupts no no no doc, we will get to that. For now, answer that)

Makebi: I want to ascertain whether this person at the time of death consumed alcohol because it could have affected his behaviour at that time and we want to know. So behaviour as a result of intoxication can contribute to circumstance leading to death.

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: That is correct my lord.

Makebi: And prudence would require that in submitting such a report we are able to rule out that fact whether there was alcohol in the system or not, right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: There is no yes or no answer because they are… circumstances in the case…

Makebi: Doc, in this case the circumstances…it could have been good for you to bring us results to know whether the person was intoxicated or not, don’t you think so for our purposes right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: Police are the ones who take samples, I don’t have control.

Makebi: So they never brought you results from the blood text?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: No my lord.

Makebi: If they brought you the result it could have been part of this report (you have brought before court right?)

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: My lord that could have been part of the report.

Makebi: So that is what is missing in this report, right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: Not really.

Makebi: Is it not missing? Is it there in this report?

Dr: Mcheleng’nga: no, the fact that it is not there doesn’t mean that it is missing.

Makebi: Doc, don’t rush to death, I am talking about the alcohol, so that we get to a conclusion. That is why we are talking about complete autopsy according to your article doc…how they arrive at a conclusion and in this case whether the results of alcohol are before this court or not, right? Are they results before this court?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: No, my lord.

Makebi: How do you determine whether the person was poisoned or not?

Dr: Mcheleng’nga: ….(not answering)

Makebi: Let me cut the chase, did you subject the liver to an examination?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: Yes.

Makebi: Did you include the results of those tests in your report? Did you examine the liver?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: My lord if you say did you examine the liver, my understanding is different my lord…

Makebi: So you examined the liver by sight? By looking at it?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: Yes my lord by looking at it:

Makebi: And according to you, you thought it was okay. Right? I have looked at the report.

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: It was unremarkable…

Makebi: And to ascertain the level of intoxication you should have subjected the liver to tests, right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: ….my analysis were that a person was not poisoned…

Mekebi: In this case did you test the liver?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: I examined the liver.

Makebi: Doc, did you test the lever if at all he was poisoned?

Dr. Mcheleng’anga: No my lord.

Makebi: Did you test the liver to know whatever medication was put in his body?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: No, my lord.

Makebi: Did you test his liver to see if whatever medication was given to him reacted at Kaoma Hospital?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: No, my lord.

Makebi: You did not. And that is missing in this report, right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: It is not missing.

Makebi: Because you concluded that toxicology has nothing to do with a death, right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: its non-contributory…

Makebi: You concluded that it is non-contributory without testing, right?

Dr: Mcheleng’anga: YES my lord.

Makebi: I have nothing more on this witness my lord.

Court: Re-Examination
Prosecution: nothing my lord.
Court adjourns

6 COMMENTS

  1. He was also a well known violent upnd cadre with many enemies outside of politics. Can that also be taken into account

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