Experts certify autopsy report on pastor Maggie Mutesi’s murder

Mugisha (R) and his lawyer Jean De Deiu Murinzi during one of the hearing sessions (FILE)

A team of three doctors Friday agreed with findings of a post-mortem report from a doctor at King Faisal Hospital on the murder of pastor Maggie Mutesi whose husband, Shadrack Mugisha, was sentenced to life in prison by Nyaragunge Intermediate Court for the murder.

Dr François Xavier Hakizimana, a senior consultant in forensic medicine at Kacyiru Hospital, Dr Gervais Ntakirutimana, an anatomical pathologist at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), and Dr Zawadi Thierry Muvunyi, Consultant pathologist at Rwanda Military Hospital were appearing before the High Court where Mugisha appealed.

Mugisha’s legal team had contested an autopsy report by Lynette Kyokunda Tumwine, a Postdoctoral Researcher and Professor of Pathology working at King Faisal Hospital, who they claimed was not qualified.

They based their claim on the fact that the postmortem examination was performed by an anatomical pathologist, not a professional forensic pathologist.

The autopsy report had revealed that the deceased had died from strangulation evidenced by contusion at the left backside of her head, cerebral haemorrhage and a head fracture.

When court gave the doctors time to elaborate on their evaluation, they said that the information provided in Kyonkunda’s autopsy report are enough to confirm that the cause of death matches the content of the report.

Ntakirutimana and his colleagues concurred that any medical officer can carry out an examination to reveal the cause of death, provided that they have the required skills.

“Terminology should not be equated with actions. If a country has no president, it does not mean that it has no other ruler. Any competent medical doctor can conduct a postmortem,” they said.

Hakizimana said the doctor found that there were fingernail abrasions on the neck of the deceased, and contusion in its muscles and vessels.

“Based on the fingernail abrasions on Mutesi’s neck, and contusion in the neck, she said that there was manual strangulation,” he said.

Contusion refers to a condition in which the blood from the broken vessels accumulates in the surrounding tissues or area.

“The doctor who performed the postmortem followed acceptable procedure. She carried out both external and internal examination of [Mutesi’s] body in a reliable manner before coming to conclusions,” Hakizimana said.

The Court jury said that the case could not proceed further as it was going to attend a funeral for judge who has passed away.

The trial was adjourned to February 14 when both the defence and prosecution will react to the doctors’ assessment.

Mutesi was the founder and leader of Heavens Gates Ministries, a Kigali-based Christian ministry. She was found dead on the couple’s marital bed on September 10, 2017.

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