|ASSAULT CHARGE FOR SENIOR OFFICIAL |
By Nalinee Seelal Sunday, January 26 2014
A criminal charge of assault by beating is to be laid against a senior official of the Forensic Science Centre in St James arising out of an incident on December 2 when this country’s lone forensic pathologist, Dr Valery Alexandrov, was assaulted and pushed out of the mortuary room by the suspect
Sunday Newsday was able to view exclusive footage from a camera at the mortuary room where the alleged incident occurred which clearly shows Dr Alexandrov being grabbed by his tie, kicked and chucked out of the room by the suspect.
The footage also showed him being pushed into another room and a gate locked behind him.
Sunday Newsday investigations revealed that at about 10 am on December 2 last month, the suspect was at the holding bay of the mortuary room of the Centre when Dr Alexandrov went to the same area.
It is alleged that the suspect had a heated discussion with Dr Alexandrov, accusing him of interfering with his work as well as leaking information on autopsies to the media.
It was then the suspect allegedly began assaulting Dr Alexandrov.
Dr Alexandrov made an official report to Police Constable Ravi Mohan at the St Clair Police Station. At the station, Dr Alexandrov was advised to seek medical attention which he did at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, and a medical report was then submitted to PC Mohan.
Sunday Newsday understands that later that day PC Mohan went to the Centre and spoke with the suspect as well as several other employees.
Sunday Newsday understands that only one witness was willing to come forward to give a statement verifying the account given by Dr Alexandrov to the police, with various persons saying they did not want to get involved in the matter.
Reports are that initially, the suspect told the police that he did not have anything to say and did not wish to give a statement but did admit to removing Dr Alexandrov from the mortuary room earlier that day.
Sunday Newsday understands that a file was prepared by PC Mohan who, seeking directions from his senior officers, was advised to lay the charge of assault by beating.
Sources said the criminal charge of assault by beating is expected to be laid against the suspect tomorrow.
Contacted on Friday for his response to this report, Dr Alexandrov confirmed the incident and said he remained traumatised by it.
“I was in the autopsy room preparing a histology report on December 2 when I went to smoke a cigarette in the mortuary room, where there were crime scene investigators and a couple of sealed body bags with bodies inside when the accused arrived,” he said.
“I told the CSI investigators “Good morning, it is going to be another busy day. The accused then jumped out of the autopsy room and started screaming that I don’t have a right to be near his bodies. I said that I am only here to finish my cigarette. He started screaming at me and gesticulating and I simply turned around and walked away. He started screaming at the CSI officers, and then turned to me, grabbed me by the tie and dragged me to the gate and then kicked me and locked the gate, leaving me behind it. “He started screaming again at the CSI officers and they all fled the mortuary room. I did not know that there was a security camera. One of the mortuary room attendants told me if it happened here, it should be on the security camera, so I went to the front where the police officers are stationed.
“I saw the young police officer, as white as a chalk, and he was watching it (the incident) on the screen in his security booth. He asked me, “Doc, Doc, what’s going on?” And I asked him how to get the footage.
“Then I reported to the Deputy Director Emmanuel Walker what had happened. He called the IT section, they came to the Centre and put everything on Mr Walker’s computer and then I went to the police station along with my wife Alla. I was so shocked I could not drive.
Dr Alexandrov said after making a report, he went to the hospital where he was treated by an Ukrainian doctor who is an orthopedic surgeon. He said that he was treated for contusions to the neck.
“Next day, I wrote a letter to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Ms Melba Dedier and copied it to the Director of the Forensic Centre, Mr Walker. Constable Mohan then made a request for the footage. I made two copies. I gave one copy to the Director of the Centre and another copy I took to the Ministry of Justice and gave it to the Minister’s Secretary to make sure it was not lost,” he said.
Dr Alexandrov, who has been working at the Centre for the past six years and expects to be in TT for another year, said:
“This kind of behaviour at Forensics in particular should not be tolerated and if somebody is having anger problems they should deal with it,” he said, wondering why, to date, no action has been taken in dealing with the matter. The suspect, it is understood, is still on active duty at the Centre. Contacted on Friday for a comment, Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams said he was not aware of the incident and did not have a file on the matter.