Gambia’s hired foreign forensics experts (forensic pathologists) have arrived in the Gambia for forensic examination on the exhumed corpse of the late Solo Sandeng and possibly others whose death may be under investigation, reliable sources told Gambiano net
According to the same reports, the forensic pathologists who arrived on Monday are from France.
During the last sitting of the trial of the 9 NIA officials charged with the murder of Solo Sandeng, state prosecutors asked for more time to allow forensics experts to arrive to conduct investigations on the corpse of the late Sandeng and others.
Exhuming a Corpse For Forensic Analysis
There are any number of reasons why a body might be exhumed for forensic analysis but they must first be deemed justified by a judge before an order to exhume will be issued.
It is important to examine first of all why forensics dictates that a body might need to be exhumed. There have been, in the past, mistakes made when it has come to making a proper case for the defense or the prosecution in a murder trial for example: as a result of this important information may have been overlooked or identification of the victim made in error.
Why Exhume a Corpse?
As we have already mentioned briefly a corpse may be exhumed for a number of reasons.
- Here we list the most common:
- Incorrect identification of the corpse
- Incomplete toxicological studies
- Trace evidence missed or overlooked
- Incomplete or improper wound analysis
Incorrect Identification of the Corpse
It may not happen as often nowadays but in times passed the misidentification of a corpse was something that could take place. This normally occurred if the corpse was dressed in a similar way to say a missing person: or indeed if they had a similar height and build. The law says that every effort must be made to correctly identify the deceased before they are given over for burial.
The exhumation of a corpse can help provide valuable DNA analysis as well as blood and tissue samples which can be used to positively identify a corpse that has been buried for some time.
This is also something that is used as an important part of any forensic education.
Incomplete Toxicological Studies
With so many advances in forensic medicine, it is now possible to exhume a body that has been buried for a number of years and take bone and DNA samples to prove if the victim had been poisoned.
In the fifties, sixties, and seventies such testing was non-existent so unless a pathologist was one hundred per cent convinced the victim had been poisoned – accidentally or otherwise – it was nearly impossible to prove. These new tests enable cases to be tried under law which might have gone untried indefinitely.