The long-awaited postmortem of the body of murdered Dutch national was postponed on Tuesday because of a stalemate over who should perform it.
The examination to determine the businessman’s cause of death was called off at the last minute and shifted to Wednesday at 9.30am.
Parties in the matter had congregated at the mortuary ready for the examination when differences ad confusion emerged.
The Star newspaper reports that it has learnt that Sarah Wairimu’s defence team led by Philip Murgor had objected to government pathologist Peter Ndegwa presiding over the exam, claiming that he would be biased against her.
In particular, they took issues with Ndegwa being at Cohen’s home last Friday when the corpse was found. They alleged that he said there were signs of torture.
“They walked into the compound and the manhole was still closed. Together with the DCI, they made pronouncements that the body had been found even before checking.
Her defence team has doubted that Ndegwa would not be independent in carrying out the exam, which would also reveal for about how long Cohen had been dead.
“A pathologist must be independent and make conclusions based on factual findings that can be verified,”the source said.
It is also said that the defence had issues with how the body was handled and identified and particularly was concerned that the widow was not present.
“Even before the body was unpacked from the clothes that covered it, they already concluded it was him. We are concerned that Sarah was not there to identify her husband,” the source said.
The defence team is understood to have insisted that Wairimu must be among those witnessing the postmortem.
“There is the issue of identification of the body. The team representing the lady in custody needs to be here… the lawyer is going to court either to pray that the suspect is here to identify the body or send somebody else,” pathologist Ndegwa told Journalists on Tuesday after the pre-postmortem conference at Chiromo Mortuary.
In attendance were the defence team, Wairimu’s independent pathologist Andrew Kanyi Gachii, Emily Rogena for the Cohen family and Cohen’s family lawyers Cliff Ombeta and Danstan Omari.
“We have agreed to move the exercise to tomorrow (Wednes- day) and it will be presided over by [Chief government pathologist Dr Johansen] Oduor who has been recalled from leave,” Ndegwa said.
The body was, however, sent for pre-postmortem X-rays at Kenyatta National Hospital on Tuesday.
Wairimu is in custody in connec- tion with Cohen’s disappearance and eventual murder, which DCI boss George Kinoti described as gruesome.
Wairimu, regarded as a prime suspect, will take a plea on Sep- tember 26. She denies she killed her husband who filed for divorce in court.
Cohen, 71, was reported miss- ing on July 19 with his phones switched off. DCI detectives failed to locate him. His body was found in an underground water tank at his Kitisuru home last week.
BY GORDON OSEN