Monday, August 7, 2017

'Hung by his pubic hair'



          In our third year at medical college, Forensic Medicine was one of the more entertaining subjects. The fire-arms on exhibit and the knowledge of their workings was one I studied avidly. The book on Forensic Medicine by Sir Sydney Smith was voluminous and was a classic. We used as a text book a smaller text by Keith Simpson. Sir Sydney Smith was already known in Ceylon as a person who appeared as an expert witness in the Sathasivam murder case. Sathasivam was an ex captain of the Cricket team of Ceylon. His wife from whom he was separated was found murdered one day. Sir Sydney Smith's evidence indicated that the servant in the house-hold was responsible. He had subsequently written a book called 'Mostly murder" which came out as a paper-back and which we all read, as part of our syllabus.
          One of our lecturers cited to us a case of rape. In this case the only evidence was a pubic hair found at the site of the crime. This pubic hair, matched that of the accused, who was subsequently found guilty and sentenced to death. Our lecturer concluded that the "suspect was hung, by his pubic hair". These were the days before DNA matching.
          There was another case of rape cited in the lectures where, a big made tall woman accused a shortish man of raping her. At the cross-examination she was asked how the sex act was done. She replied 'standing'. Then she was asked how it was possible, with her being so tall. She replied 'I bent a little at the knees'. The case was dismissed. 

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