Controversy over presence of attorney at Picard’s man autopsy

Peter and Behanzin are at odds over Behanzin's presence at the autopsy
Peter and Behanzin are at odds over Behanzin’s presence at the autopsy

Attorney General (AG), Levi Peter, has come under fire from lawyer Tyhani Behanzin for statements made concerning Behazine’s presence at the autopsy of a Picard man who died while in police custody.

Speaking on Kairi’s Heng Program on Monday, Levi said a “troublesome slope” is created when attorneys are allow to attend autopsies.

“It is not normal,” he stated. “I don’t believe it is a practice that should be adopted. My own view is that it should not be adopted at all. If I have been asked, I would say it shouldn’t happen in this instance.”

Peter questioned the “expertise” that attorneys bring to such procedures.

“My view is very clear on this,” he stated. “I believe this is a troublesome slope because if you start allowing attorneys, then what is the expertise they bring? It is an autopsy, there is a pathologist, unless somebody wants to say the pathologist is somehow dishonest and corrupt and they can say so and there is a process to deal with it. Otherwise, I think the only people that should be there are people who have something to do with the autopsy and if I am a lawyer and I have an issue with the autopsy, I arrange for a second autopsy .”

Peter further stated that a problem is created when “you tell the next lawyer that her or she cannot go.”

“So if you asking my opinion, I don’t think it should happen,” he stated.

But Behanzin, who is representing the family of Joshua Etienne who died in police custody, described Peter’s position as erroneous.

“It if is a legal point, quote the law under which you make your statement,” he told privately-owned Q95 on Tuesday in response to Peter.

He said he applied for permission to attend the autopsy at the coroner’s court since this is legal under Section 30 of the Coroner’s Act and since Etienne’s death “is suspicious.”

Section 30 of the Act reads, “no counsel or solicitor shall be entitled as a right to appear in any proceeding before a coroner’s court or the coroner may, if he think fits on application, permit such appearance.”

Behanzin pointed out that attempts were made to prevent him from attending the autopsy, despite the fact that he had permission from the coroner’s court.

He stated that there was “deliberate misinformation” by Peter “to make me look as if I don’t know what I am doing to start with.”

Behanzin said additionally that Peter is using his authority as AG to confuse and put medical staff at risk by telling them that they should not “allow particular people in the autopsy when they have received permission from the coroner…”

“Then he now is in contempt of the court,” he stated. “I was there because I was given authority by the court.”

Meanwhile police PRO, assistant superintendent Claude Weekes, said Behanzin was present at the autopsy because he applied for what he described as a “watch in brief.”

“He made an application and the application was approved by the said court and that would have given him, from a court perspective, the authority to be present at the post mortem,” Weekes said.

Etienne’s death at the Portsmouth Police Station has attracted national attention. He was found dead in his cell on August 6 after he was arrested for alleged possession of ammunition the day before.




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  1. observing
    August 15, 2014

    My condolences to the family and pray that Justice will be served. With this development though I’m questioning who might have done the shooting of mr Freeman and the 2 in Portsmouth in 2012.

  2. A Voice
    August 13, 2014

    Seeing this is such a high profile sensitive case and in the interest of justice transparency, why would you object to the lawyer being at the autopsy?

    But then again what do you expect from empty barrels? The man is the big AG and yet he is overshadowed by Astaphan.

    Astaphan solely made the man and his office insignificant in Dominica.

  3. Lougaoo Mem
    August 13, 2014

    Behanzin is correct on the subject matter. Now it is clear to the public where our country is going. For those in authority to say that the police did everything in good faith, is a pretext to cover-up what really happened on that unfortunate night in the Portsmouth Police Station.

    The incompetent AG should immediately step down because he continues to demonstrate that he’s incapable of the position he’s in.

  4. Da
    August 13, 2014

    Justice must have seem to be done. It is a collective matter and the Chief should do the same thing in all cases, police or not.

  5. Roseau
    August 13, 2014

    Where does the Police Force go from there? Because, there are some other police officers who were accused and charged for many other offenses and nothing was done by this same administration. So I find it very hypocritical for those police officers who are now charged in the Portsmouth case to be rushed to the court in such an unprecedented manner.

  6. August 13, 2014

    Chupes…Behanzin needs to behave and do a good job with the people case so they can get rich on tax payers money! He has no business in anything now except to wait when the officers get charged to file his civil suit. At this point he has no say. He can watch but has no say until his civil suit begins. So i do not u derstand where he coming with all that charade…..

    • Views Expressed
      August 13, 2014

      if you are unaware of the procedures and processes of the Court, and if you have nothing good to say or contribute to this matter, my advice to you is to SHUT UP….AND THIS IS FREE ADVICE…..again SHUT UP

      • Mr biggs
        August 13, 2014

        are you RETARDED? CHELICOCO is right! my advice to you is SOAP, LIME AND WATER>>>>>

  7. August 13, 2014

    Mr. Levi Peter seem to be making a complete fool of himself. Why is the attorney general getting himself involved in a matter which has no involvement with government?
    The mere fact he is getting involved in a matter albeit relating to the police suggest, that there are dark forces connected to the government; that is attempting to suppress the process of justice.
    Mr. Peter has stated, “I would say it shouldn’t happen in this instance.”
    What does he really mean by saying “in this instance”? So it can happen in other instances but not this one.!!!!!
    So there should be one favourable rule for the police, and a less favourable rule for others.
    That sort of comment is opened to alot of scrutiny and conjecture. CAN’T YOU SMELL A RAT?
    Mr. Peter should stick to his duties of advising and representing the government and state on legal matters both locally and internationally; and stop sticking his nose in matters that is of no concern to him.
    Mr. Tyhani Behanzin is totally within his rights to supervise the autopsy of the deceased. He is the deceased legal representative therefore he is totally entitled to do so.

    Mr. Peter’s objection suggest that there is a process of a cover up already in motion and Mr. Tyhani Behanzin presence at the autopsy has thrown an obstacle spanner in that cover up process.
    It seem Mr. Tyhani Behanzin has outsmarted and out-thought the police in their attempt to cover up and suppress this matter.

    • Mr biggs
      August 13, 2014

      REALLY? what is the role of the attorney general may I ask? lol

  8. August 13, 2014

    Good job Mr. Behanzin…Once the AG was appointed by the Labour Party, expect that behavior. ..

  9. Forever Amber
    August 13, 2014

    The AG, Peter Levi, is in contempt of court. What punitive, judicial action can we expect?

  10. Roach
    August 13, 2014

    Levi Peter shame on you. You and Behanzin, two british trained lawyers, shame on you man…..

  11. eyes to see
    August 13, 2014

    AG, you are not above the court. Put that in your brains and stop politicking. The lawyer applied and got permission, I support him on that one.
    Not because the man was seen as a parro by the police he had to be treated that way. Let justice be served.

  12. Anonymous
    August 13, 2014

    The principles of the Rule of Law apply to ALL officials and laymen!

  13. Anonymous
    August 13, 2014

    If the law allows council, by way of an approved application from the corona’s court, to attend postmortem then the AG is overstepping his bounds when he objects to the one who is following the law.

    Tiyanni was well within his right when he attended the evalution because he had sort legal permission which was approved. He followed the law to the T.

  14. Marcus Hill
    August 13, 2014

    So the AG doh know the law. Wepapa mi debah!!

  15. August 13, 2014

    IT is due to the level of corruption in our little island dominica,all responsible and concerned eyes should be open in order to stop this corruption…too many people in position in dominica have dirty hands ,while they suck bones in order to smell sweet while the poor people are feeling the pain,,,if any one thinks that the presence of this attorney is a nuissance ,well i must say these people is covering corruption and have a lot of pests in his or her cupboard…we need clearity in our sytem,the time has come where every one of us is the most high’s child and we all want a piece of the good cake.this young man needs justice ,tampering witth a dead body a first time can be a huge problem during a second autopsy,dominica now is becoming like africa where corruption has played a major role in society .

  16. Ras B
    August 13, 2014

    T.B is right in this case whereas (A.G) L.P by his position seems to suggest that the state has something to hide. My only worry is that T.B did not attend the post mortem with an independent pathologist. This would doubtlessly enrich his experience and provide him with useful information which could be used in court as well as keep the state’s pathologist from being too economical with the truth.

    It is not unknown that in cases where there is alleged foul play, the attorney for the deceased attends the post mortem usually with an independent pathologist. This practice is employed through-out the world, the fact that there is a mechanism by which the process can be allowed in Dominica is an irrevocable testimony.

    Contrary to what (A.G) L.P states, even in the presence of another pathologist, the role of that pathologist is to observe and take notes not to contradict or add to the post mortem findings. In fact at a post mortem all the pathologist does is observe and make notes. On completion of the post mortem, he or she then studies his/her notes and compiles a report. This is the report which is eventually submitted.

    T.B therefore erred in not having a pathologist with him. His presence was therefore of little value to the deceased since he lacks the technical expertise to produce a report on the post mortem that may question the findings of the state’s pathologist. Next time T.B, do your job right, get a second pathologist to accompany you at the post mortem!!!

    • Views Expressed
      August 13, 2014

      If I am correct Tiyani also has some medical background, maybe he could have been a doctor, so do not underestimate Tiyani with his background, you and the public will be surprise to know. This man us extremely knowledgeable and also a community fighter.
      From his report and feedback I am convinced that Tiyani is satisfied with what he witnessed and what he saw, the rest is for the courts.
      I will advise AG Levi to be careful and refer to and make contact with legal sources before he opens his mouth and spew rubbish. That is not the making of a legal mind. Levi is too reactionary and noisy, he demonstrates no value nor knowledge of what he says.. Well, show me your company I tell you who you are.,
      Good luck all on the legal process to justice and representation

    • leaves you 2 wonder
      August 13, 2014

      Ras B

      You are talking FOOLISHNESS. Wasnt it the same Tyhani Behanzin who asked the state pathologist to revisit a particular area and another injury sustained by the deceased was recognized. this man takes pride in educating himself about his work. this is not the functional illiterate AG that we have talking foolishness and providing erroneous information the the hospital staff that could potentially have them locked up in a cell for contempt of court. Its better to be thought of as a fool, so stop opening your mouth and removing all doubt

  17. Satelite
    August 13, 2014

    I hope all you see what the AG is trying to do already. He knows what will comw out of this case so he is starting his fight very early. At the end of the day, or the case I should say, he the AG will have no choice but to adhere to whatever result, respons or decision the court makes towards the dead’s man family. Keep pushing Mr lawyer, we need the best out of this one.

  18. powpow
    August 13, 2014

    peter doesnt have a point from any angle.

  19. aa
    August 12, 2014

    Is there anything to hide why the ag did not want the lawyer present. Waiting to hear the results myself.

  20. Affa
    August 12, 2014

    Then he had the right to be there! politics aside. Transpiracy is everything in a case of police brutality, to assist the chief in keeping his word on this case.

  21. shaka zulu
    August 12, 2014

    I kind of see the AGs point and understand. Behanzin is not a medical expert and he being there does not mean anything. I heard him on Q95 talking about he asked the physician about the chest cavity that led to discovery of injury that was missed in an attempt to prove why he being there was important. The AG is right. He has no medical expertise and the most he can do is get another autopsy or another expert physician to discredit or interpret results. He can only ask questions and is disrespectful of medical professional.

    Let’s turn the tables. Would Mr. Behanzin like a medical doctor with no experience in law to come observe him in court and ask questions or tell him bout court and legal procedures?

    I think we are all a little too excited about this case and already trying the case in media and court of public opinion. This is no way a quick and easy case and should all calm down and let the legal system proceed as it should before our actions deny chance for proper justice.

    • Views Expressed
      August 13, 2014

      Shaka Zulu.
      So why does the law make allowance for a legal person to be present upon request?
      It is not about Tiyani, it is the law Tiyani used to guide him to make that request…..he is guided by the law, he made reference to it unlike the States AG Levi ,who huff and puff with no evidence to prove and guide us what the hell he is talking about.

      • shaka zulu
        August 13, 2014

        The law makes provisions but not upon request. It is up to Court to decide it is valid. Also when access is granted there should be standard procedures. Pleas note: I have no objection in Mr. Behanzin being there, however he needs to understand his professional capacity. Just like the defence can manipulate the outcome so to can the lawyers for victim and prosecution.

        At the end of the day is not behanzin observations during autopsy that a relevant, but that of the physician in his professional capacity. I may not agree with the legal manner AG may have handled but we have to be careful on both sides during the process.

      • shaka zulu
        August 13, 2014

        I should say the law makes provisions but approval is not automatic upon request.

  22. mad sick
    August 12, 2014

    way to go behanzin……..justice mist b served :mrgreen: :twisted:

  23. mad sick
    August 12, 2014

    way to go behanzin……..justice mist b served

  24. Jaime Lewis
    August 12, 2014

    Why is the AG speaking contrary to the law that provides for this attorney to be present at the autopsy? Mr. Weekes made it quite clear that the attorney had applied for permission, and that the permission had been granted by the court.
    The AG must pay attention to Mr. Daniel Carbon had to say – that there will be justice. It is the State that is bringing the case against the police officers; therefore the AG needs to support the various State offices, including the court which has granted permission to the attorney to attend the autopsy.

  25. Mr. Deligent
    August 12, 2014

    The whole Island is at a stand still with the fact that five police officers are in the dock for murder while in the execution of their duties.The Prime Minister must come out or you failed Caricom. It cost so much to train these men and they all gone to waste of have never heard of police boy so they acted as men. what a ca lava and no one wants to take the blame CAaRICOM HELP

  26. leaves you 2 wonder
    August 12, 2014

    The AG is a God-damn waste of time and should be fired… period!!!!

  27. Jejep
    August 12, 2014

    Why don’t some people just close their mouth rather than to say something that would suggest that there was an intention or attempt to hide something?

    Why does the treasury pay the salaries of some of these ?

  28. concerned
    August 12, 2014

    it seems levi lacks knowledge of the law. they shouldn’t have to quote sections of the law which caters to such if he knew, then again what do you expect from a failed lawyer who doesn’t even have his l.e.c

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