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CASE 3 – Demolishing the medical evidence in a culpable homicide case

Demolishing the medical evidence in a culpable homicide case

My client, a dear friend of mine, was charged with culpable homicide in that he negligently caused the death of his father during a motor accident. Since there was indeed a motor accident, my only option was to demolishing the medical evidence concerning the cause of death.

The doctor who attended to the deceased after the accident, testified that the patient was bleeding profusely, and in fact bleeding to death when he was admitted to the hospital. He testified that, in his opinion at the time, the only way in which the bleeding could be stopped, was to amputate the patient’s legs, which were severely injured. He therefore subsequently amputated his patient’s legs.

My cross-examination of the doctor was brief and I decided to start off my questioning by rattling him with the following question:

“Doctor, tell the court what was the real killer in this matter, was it the multiple injuries sustained in the motor accident, or the operation that you performed on the deceased?”

He seemed to hyperventilate for a brief moment, lost his voice, swallowed, and then said that the real killer was the multiple injuries sustained in the accident.

I then asked him the following question, which promptly disposed of the state’s case:

“Doctor, are you saying that it is so certain that the deceased would have died if you did not operate, as it is certain that you did operate, and the accused did die?

He answered in the negative and that meant that the state had not proved, beyond reasonable doubt, its case on the issue of the cause of death. The state subsequently closed its case, I moved for an acquittal, which was granted, and we all went home.

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