The Medico legal aspects of any case must always be secondary to life saving treatment of the patient. It is advisable that the doctor should learn to look from the medico—legal standpoint upon such of his cases as are likely to become the subject matter of judicial Investigation.
He should acquire the habit of making a careful note of all the facts observed by him in Medico legal case. Vagueness and theory have no place in forensic medicine. He should examine the facts which come to his knowledge in his special capacity. Draw his conclusions logically and correctly after a detailed consideration of the pros and cons of the case, and indicate to the Court that interpretation, along with the grounds on which it is based.
Presumption is not proof, and conjecture is not evidence. The Court has no special medical knowledge. It relies on his witness for an opinion and expects him to assist it with his special knowledge and experience in Medico legal case. The burden of presenting medical facts and medical opinions in the best possible way rests on the doctor.
Forensic pathologist testifies on so—called “fact issues”, such as cause and manner of death, rather than “Ultimate issue” of guilt or innocence, so that opinion based upon reasonable medical certainty is adequate to support the testimony of the forensic pathologist in Medico legal case.
The medical evidence does not itself prove the case of prosecution. Other things being equal, the better the presentation of medical evidence, the better is the administration of justice in Medico legal case. A good command of language, clear presentation, and ability in expressing a relatively firm opinion are necessary for the success of the medical witness.
Demeanour, appearance, professional manner and general behavior of the expert witness are almost equal in importance to forensic ability during testimony in Medico legal case. The doctor should avoid talking too much, talking too soon, and talking to the wrong persons .
Prejudicial and sensational statements should not he made prior to trial. The pathologist should never overlook an opportunity to remain silent. The doctor must be guarded in what he says and how he says it in Medico legal case.
Medico legal expert
The Medico legal expert is not a detective. He may use his knowledge and intelligence to help the police to solve a crime. His role should be to furnish the police with specific information on matters of which he has specialized knowledge.
Because of the special knowledge of Medico legal expert, a non-medical clue may have significance to him, which even an experienced police officer has not grasped. The medical expert should be very careful when he is examining living people.
He should not encourage an accused person to talk about the crime with which he is charged, or about the events that led to his arrest. If during a medical examination, an accused says anything that might incriminate himself, it should be neither recorded nor reported.
However, occasions may arise when a Medico legal expert may use an admission to direct the police to certain lines of inquiry and action without actually disclosing what has been said.