Forensic Expert: Kevin Morais’ Fingernails, Toenails Were Missing

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 – Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Anthony Kevin Morais’ decomposed remains were found with the fingernails and toenails missing, the High Court was told today. Kuala Lumpur Hospital forensic medical consultant expert Dr Nurliza Abdullah, 51, under cross-examination by counsel Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent said the fingernails and toenails could have slid off the rotting skin.

Six men – G.Gunasekaran, 48, R.Dinishwaran, 24, A.K. Thinesh Kumar, 23, M.Vishwanath, 26, S.Nimalan, 23, and S.Ravi Chandaran, 45, are jointly accused of murdering the DPP between 7 am and 8 pm on Sept 4, 2015, between Jalan Dutamas Raya Sentul and No.1 Jalan USJ1/6D, Subang Jaya. First accused, Col Dr R. Kunaseegaran, 53, allegedly abetted the six in killing Kevin Morais at the same place, date and time.

When asked by Geethan whether the fingernails and toenails were left inside the gunny sack after the body was taken out, Dr Nurliza said she did not see them because of the dirt and skin. She said she did not check the gunny sack immediately as she had to hand it to the police to be forwarded to the Chemistry department for further examination.

She agreed with counsel’s suggestion that she only did a minimal examination on the gunny sack and therefore could not properly explain why the body parts in question were not found. On the possibility that the toenails were left in the socks of the deceased, the witness said they were absent even after an inspection.

Counsel: So where did the nails go?

Witness: I don’t know.

Counsel: This is strange. Agree?

Witness: I don’t agree.

Dr Nurliza who has 20 years of forensic experience, did not however dismiss the probability that nails could still be intact, 14 days after death, depending on the surrounding factors. She also said the estimated time of Kevin Morais’ death could not be determined due to the state of decomposition. On the darker discolouration on the deceased’s face, neck and chest, she said it was visible only on certain parts of the neck and not on the chest but more obvious on the face.

 She said that the darker discolouration on the face is a result of congestion. She did not agree with counsel that in the process of decomposition, the face would always appear to be darker. Geethan then proposed that postmortem hypostasis (intravascular pooling of blood in gravitationally dependent parts of the body after death) would explain the darker discolouration on Kevin Morais’ face.

Counsel: In this case, if the deceased was found in the drum right after his death with his face towards the bottom, hypostasis would occur on the face. Correct?

Witness: Yes.

Counsel: Will hypostasis cause darker discolouration?

Witness: The possibility is there.

Counsel: So, the darker discolouration on the deceased’s face was caused by hypostasis?

Witness: I don’t agree.

Counsel: Your findings that there was congestion is inaccurate because the body had decomposed

Witness: I don’t agree.

The trial continues tomorrow before Justice Datuk Azman Abdullah.

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