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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

DIFFICULTIES IN THE DETECTION OF CRIME                                  3

along with his statement recorded in the vernacular. In cases of assault or
other non-cognizable crime the injured person may go direct to the Civil
Surgeon with the permission of the police-officer, if he thinks it necessary,
or he may file an affidavit in the court of ,a Magistrate who will send him
to the Civil Surgeon for medical examination and report.

DIFFICULTIES IN THE DETECTION OF CRIME

• The Civil Surgeon or the Medical Officer, who is always ready to assist
the course of justice, finds it, at times, very difficult to arrive at correct
conclusions in medico-legal cases for the "following reasons : —

jjl) On hearing of an incident, the investigating police-officer, being
already engaged in investigating another case or for some other reason, may
not proceed at once to the place of occurrence ; consequently^valuahle time
is^lost in obtaining a..qlue. tojhe .crime, _As an instance of the dilatory habits
of the police-officers I may cite below one of many similar cases.

A Hindu female, about 45 years old, of P. S. Mandiaon, Lucknow District, died
in the King George's Hospital at 4 p.m. on the 20th September 1921. The Police were
informed immediately of her death, and yet the necessary papers for post-mortem
examination were handed over to me at 9 a.m. on the 22nd September 1921. The resiult
of this unnecessary delay was that the cause of death could not be ascertained owing
to the decomposition of the body.

(2) Even if the police-officer reaches the place in time, he__may ~ not
touch the dead body and scrutinize it for any marks of violence or identifi-
catiwiDnraeeeuaat ^je^t^"preju3icgs or~some such scruples, but may depend
on the j^liter ate villagers present at the inquest, who may have some motive
in concealing the real T:acts. To illustrate these remarks I cite the following
four cases:—

1.    In February 1917, the body of a Mokemodan woman was taken out of a well in
Akbar's palace at JTatehpur Sikri, and was sent to the Agra Medical School Mortuary
for post-mortem examination with a police report that she was young, had thirty-two
teeth, and her hair was dark; while at the autopsy it was found that the woman was
more than 60 years old, had no teeth, all the alveoli had been absorbed, and the plait
of the hair of the head that was lying loose owing to decomposition was mostly of a

—silvery white colour.

2.    In a case of double murder which occurred in Chowk, Lucknow, on or about
the 10th August 1923, the age of one of the victims was put down to be 54 years by the
police-officer holding the inquest but on inspection on the 12th August, the age was
ascertained to be only 14 years and the age of the other victim who happened to be the
mother of the girl (first victim) was forty years.

3.    On the 26th August 1923, a body was removed from a well situated within the
jurisdiction of Police-Station,  Chowk, Lucknow.    It was  sent to the  Medical College
Mortuary for post-mortem examination with a report that it was the body of an unknown
woman.   At the autopsy it was found to be the body of a tall and well-built male.   The
body was in an advanced state of decomposition but the penis and scrotum were easily
recognizable.

4.    On the 10th July 1924, a headless body was found floating in Nahair  (canal)
Ghyasudin Haidar within the jurisdiction of Police-Station, Hazaratganj, Lucknow.   The
body was tajjen out and forwarded to me for examination with a report that the body
was that of a woman.   On examination I found that the body was that of a Hindu male,
as the penis which was distended owing to decomposition was not circumcised.

(3) The report supplied by the police-officer is often quite meagre, as,
for want of powers of obsejry'atioj^^                   .accnrac^^hjgm rushes through

an inquest, anS'omffs to note many points, which would otherwise Eelp^fove
the manner of death, or, for want of the most elementary knowledge of
Medical Jurisprudence, though the subject is taught in police training schools,
he mistakes the marks of post-mortem staining for- those of violence and1
describes injuries where there are none or omits to mention them when they
are present, and thus unwittingly misleads the medical officer, especially if
the body happens to be highly decomposed.