- Published on Thursday, 18 October 2012 10:08
- Written by The News
Families of the four drowned Maritime cadets are protesting the embalmment of the remains their children prior to the conduct of an autopsy sanctioned by the Ministry of Justice.
The four trainees: Henry Bryant, George Kaba Reed Jr., J. Eddie Wilson and Patrick M. Ansumana, Jr. got drowned recently in the Atlantic Ocean at Musa Beach in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
Circumstances leading to the drowning of the four cadets have sparked heated controversy between members of their families and the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), with the deceased relatives demanding that Maritime take full responsibility of their deaths.
Relatives of the deceased have threatened to drag LiMA to court for negligence and recklessly exposing their children to danger leading to their untimely deaths.
The families’ legal representative Green Advocates International was recently compelled to file a writ of prohibition at the Supreme Court halting the conduct of autopsy on the remains of the four men on grounds that the autopsy would invade the bodies of their relatives when, in fact, Justice Ministry and LiMA have advised that no criminal conduct was involved or suspected in connection with the deaths.
The legal counsel argued that it was unnecessary for the Ministry to conduct autopsy on the remains because they (families) were yet to file any complaint alleging some crime or criminal conduct regarding these deaths, our sources noted.
During a meeting with the Ministry of Justice and Green Advocates International, the Supreme Court revised its decision and said the Ministry of Justice can do autopsy on the bodies.
Following the Supreme Court decision on last Friday, the Ministry of Justice wrote informing the bereaved families to take delivery of the remains of their relatives on Monday.
Disappointingly for the families, the Ministry of Justice failed to release the bodies on Monday as promised.
However, the remains were released on Tuesday to the families amidst protest that the bodies were embalmed before conducting the autopsy.
Morticians at St. Moses Funeral Home were the bodies were sent by the Maritime Authority informed members of the families that the bodies were embalmed prior to the autopsy.
The families said it was wrong for the bodies to be embalmed before the conduct of autopsy.
The families’ lawyer Alfred Brownell said the embalmment of the bodies prior to the autopsy clearly established that the remains of his clients’ children were tampered with.
He said the families are furious over the action of the Ministry of Justice and that they would seek remedy through court action.
The legal counsel further noted that the police investigation into the deaths of the cadets was just another mere scheme conspiracy, and wondered, what the police investigation was when it was not the police that took the bodies to St. Moses Funeral Parlours.
He noted that it would have been wise for St. Moses to preserve the remains of the cadets than to embalm it without the consent of the aggrieved parents.