Suspicious deaths are those where the cause of death or the circumstances surrounding the event are thought to be suspicions. It must therefore be examined in order to establish whether the death was manslaughter, murder, suicide, accident or indeed natural.
Forensic pathology consists of an examination of a body after death, in cases where the death is suspicious. The role of the forensic pathologist is to determine the cause of death and the circumstances surrounding the incident, which led to the death.
The initial post mortem should involve a thorough examination of the body, both externally and internally. During this process anything at all unusual should be noted by the forensic pathologist, including amongst other things: injuries, scarring, discolouration. The post mortem report will then be released and can often constitute a significant proportion of the prosecution’s evidence.
However, occasionally, the forensic pathologist may have missed a crucial detail during the original post mortem examination, which could prove pivotal to the defence case.
Whether as a result of the defendant's testimony or other available evidence, if there is any reason whatsoever to suspect that the person died from something other than the alleged actions of the defendant (i.e. natural causes) or in a manner incompatible with the theory put forward by the prosecution, we would recommend that counsel request the services of our Home Office Authorised forensic pathologist, in order that they may carefully consider the results and conclusions of the original report.
1. Our first step would be to review the original report and findings, looking for any questions which may have been left unanswered or for processes which have been omitted.
2. If we have reason to believe that the report fails to address an issue or have cause to believe that the defendant's case may benefit from a second report (based on the original report or on a re-examination of the body) we can provide an estimate of costs suitable to legal aid funding if required.
3. Once we have received your instructions to proceed we would conduct the review proposed in our estimate and provide a detailed report of our findings commenting on all the points which may have been raised by the defence along with any other information which we feel may be relevant and important to the case.
4. Finally if called upon to do so our pathologist will provide robust testimony in relation to their findings at the criminal trial.
Estimated time of death.
Alternative causes of death.
Other unusual findings.