There was dead silence at an Accra High Court on Tuesday as Specialist Pathologist, Dr Lawrence Edusei gave a horrifying account of the state of Major Maxwel Mahama’s body during post mortem.
Dr Edusei said there were visible signs of violence on the body of a “well nourished male adult.”
“There were burns involving the head, both upper limbs, both lower limbs, the abdomen, so in total about 54% of total body surface area, burnt. There were multiple lacerations on the skull, the left side of the lower limb. Depressed fracture of the skull, fracture of the jaw bone, chest bones (ribs), extensive bleeding under the skin of the head,” Dr Edusei told the court.
The pathologist is the State’s 13th witness out of a total of 14 witnesses listed to testify in the court.
The 14 people, including then Assembly man of Denkyria Obuasi, William Baah, are standing trial over the death of the soldier in May 2017.
Chief State Attorney Evelyn Keelson on Tuesday led Dr Edusei to brief the court on the postmortem report as the State inches closer to closing its case against the accused persons.
Dr Edusei said even before commencing the postmortem he carried out an X-Ray examination.
This, he said, revealed bullet pellets were lodged at the left side of the jaw, the lower end of the right thigh bone and the lower part of the left leg.
He also said there was an object lodged at the right side of the pelvic bone that had caused a fracture. While admitting it was difficult to determine what the object was he concluded it was most likely to be from a short gun.
On what his internal analysis of the corpse revealed, Dr Edusei said there was bleeding in the brain and extensive bleeding on the surface of the lungs. He also said he observed a penetrating injury in the lungs.
“In the chest cavity at the left side, there was a collection of blood; a round pellet was retrieved from the left cavity. There was extensive bleeding in the left upper part of the abdomen,” he said.
Dr Edusei concluded his testimony by saying the soldier’s death was caused by multiple head injuries.
“In my opinion, the cause of death is multiple head injuries; this is due to blunt objects like stone, wood, iron rods and shot guns. These are unnatural causes,” Dr Edusei added.
Defense lawyer George Bernard Shaw was the first to cross examine Dr Edusei. He reminded the doctor he had earlier lamented during the trial at the District Court of his inability to get access to crime scene and ballistics experts. He asked whether this could not have affected his findings. Dr Edusei responded that the experts were not required to enable him reach his conclusions.
A police investigator is expected to be the State’s last witness once Dr Edusei is discharged by the court.