Colombo Chief JMO Ajith Tennakoon yesterday informed Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris that former Sri Lanka rugby star Wasim Thajudeen had not been driving his vehicle at the time of his death.The initial verdict was that Thajudeen had died of injuries sustained in a car accident.Tennakoon told the Colombo Additional Magistrate that the former rugby star had been assaulted before his body was dumped into the left seat of his car before the accident was staged.
Tennakoon made this observation after performing a special judicial medical examination of Wasim Thajudeen’s badly-charred body which was exhumed three months ago from his grave in the cemetery in Dehiwela.
Tennakoon said Thajudeen’s death had been caused by the infliction of multiple injuries to his legs, neck and stomach, the severity of which had been aggravated with injuries caused by the fire when the car had been torched.
Thajudeen may have died a few minutes before the car was set ablaze or just when it was being torched, Tennakoon said.
The entire disclosure made by the Colombo Chief JMO to the Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris on the charred remains of rugby player Wasim Thajudeen after it was exhumed is as follows.
1. The parts of the corpse that was exhumed and the samples that had been kept at the JMO office were identified as that of late Mohammad Wasim Thajudeen. This was further proved and ascertained through DNA tests carried out on the samples taken from the victim’s remains and after having examined and re-examined x-ray photos taken both before and after the victim’s death.
2. From the parts of the corpse that was exhumed there were only dried bones. Smooth particles were not found on the bones.
3. We found the fractures at the higher and lower sections of the bone. These fractures are horizontal. In our opinion, these horizontal fractures, in both thigh bones, are on the same level, and cannot occur in a motor accident. These fractures can only have been caused through repeated blows with a blunt weapon.
4. The head injury might have caused the victim to lapse into an unconscious state.
5. The bone below the knee of the left leg was also broken. We believe that this was caused by assault. Examination of the car showed us that it had not met with a motor accident.
6. The wounds on the chest and the neck looked as if they were pierced with some object. The wound in the neck had pierced the Oesophagus (windpipe). The pole to which the steering wheel is attached or the lever on the pole cannot cause such a wound. Therefore we believe that this was caused by a blunt weapon.
7. There had been heavy bleeding from the wound on the lower neck. This can be the wound that was the cause of death. However, we are not one hundred per cent sure because the body was burnt.
8. According to the photographs taken by officials from SOCO and CID, the body was in the front passenger seat. Also, it had turned towards the left door. If this incident occurred when the deceased was driving it would have been impossible, given the nature of the wounds, for him to move to the passenger seat. He could not have been thrown to the passenger seat.
9. Considering all evidence we believe that the deceased was not driving when the accident took place. The victim was placed in the passenger seat after he was assaulted. He was placed and the perpetrators had then stage-managed what appeared to be an accident.
10. We believe that death was caused by injuries to the leg, neck and the chest and subsequently by the effects of the fire. Therefore, the fire occurred right before his death.
11. There was no carbon monoxide found in the first blood sample taken at the post-mortem. However, in the first post-mortem report it is said that they suspect that there might have been carbon monoxide in the blood. The blood samples were taken from the chest cavity and the abdomen. If the blood was from the wounds before the fire was caused, there cannot be carbon monoxide in these samples.
According to Tennakoon’s as well as the panel of medical experts’ opinions and observations related to the bone samples and bone fragments obtained from Thajudeen’s body, which have since been lost (previously the authorities had been warned to ensure safety of that evidence) are:
1 Two thigh bones and some parts of the sternum were not among the body parts which were exhumed.
2. In the last post-mortem, the Chief Judicial Medical Officer Ananda Samarasekara writes in the last paragraph of the 14th page that “I have asked to place the above-mentioned bone samples in the deep freezer in our institution.” However, these bone samples could not be found. There was no evidence of action taken to ensure the safety of that evidence.
3. Both assistants who took part in the first post-mortem said they were not instructed by the three doctors to hold the bone samples. The procedure of the institute is to label such samples, number them, record the samples, and place them in the deep freezer under the supervision of laboratory officials.
4. Although we inspected all deep freezers and freezers that held corpses, we could not find the bone samples.
5. Dr. Samarasekara visited the institute with CID officials on 30 September but he could also not find the samples.
6. We believe that, after considering all the evidence, the two thigh bones and chest bones were not held at the institute.
The final report of the examination, after his body was exhumed, was issued with the signatures of the Colombo Chief Judicial Medical Officer, Ajith Tennakoon, Dr. N. Perera and the Additional Judicial Medical Officer N.P.A. Hewage.
The next hearing will be on 10 December. Magistrate Nishantha Peiris, who was taking swift action to solve the Thajudeen case was transferred on 3 November to the Matara District Court with effect from 1 January 2016 by the Judicial Services Commission.
By Ishara Rathnakara / Ceylon Today