Pathologist confirms cause of death

By Deidre Tautua ,

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DEFENDANTS: Max Alefosio and PJ Tupuola Puni.

DEFENDANTS: Max Alefosio and PJ Tupuola Puni.

A senior forensic pathologist from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea told the court yesterday of the findings that caused the death of 44 year old Misa Vailigi Rarotoga.

He had conducted a post mortem last year.

Dr. Philip Golpak, was giving evidence yesterday in the trial of PJ Tupuola Puni and Max Alefosio which continued before Supreme Court Justice, Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke. 

Both men have pleaded not guilty murder.

Puni is represented by lawyer, Diana Roma while Max Alefosio is represented by Lei’ataua Jerry Brunt and Leone Su’a-Mailo is prosecuting.

“During the post mortem, there were 14 injuries noted on the body of the deceased,” said Mr. Golpak.

“The cause of death is due to Subdural and Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (intracranial bleeding) and it is my opinion that the injuries were the result of blunt force trauma.”

During his testimony Ms. Su’a asked the pathologist if he could tell the court what sort of blunt force trauma would cause those injuries.

“It could be from punches, kicks, a stone could also be used as an object or a piece of timber so these are all types of blunt force trauma,” said Dr. Phillip.

“The injuries that the deceased sustained from his lips and mouth including his loose tooth would be more from punches and kicks.

Ms. Su’a then asked the witness if he was able to identify which injuries caused the actual death of Misa.

“Yes, the injuries which caused the death of Vailigi are number 2 and 3: which are Subdural and Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (intracranial bleeding),” he said.

“In other words he was bleeding inside the brain and these two injuries were caused by blunt force trauma.”

 “In light of the injuries number 2 and 3, in your opinion how long would it have taken for the deceased to have died from those injuries?” asked Ms. Su’a.

“It would take hours,” Dr. Phillip told the court.

“Because as the person is getting beaten he would bleed slowly and it would cause pressure to the brain.”

Ms. Su’a then asked if such injuries could be treated Dr. Phillip said they could be.

“To what extent could those injuries have been treated?” Ms. Su’a asked.

“It depends on how long before there was treatment because when the blood is collecting under the brain, the person needs to be taken in for surgery to open up the skull and relieve the pressure that is being produced by the blood,” said Dr. Phillip.

“However, if it’s less than an hour it’s very difficult to get someone into the theatre and open up his skull and operate on him.

“I cannot calculate how much blood was inside the victim’s brain but all I can say is that it was enough to kill him.”

Ms. Su’a also asked the witness for his professional opinion as to whether it was possible to conduct an emergency in the span of 15 minutes.

She pointed out that his testimony indicated that internal bleeding could be reversed with medical intervention.

 In response Dr. Phillip stated that “Fifteen minutes would not be enough time to do any sort of surgery on him.”

The hearing continues.

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