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Original Research Paper

Perceptions of judiciary on competencies needed by medical officers to provide expert evidence in Sri Lanka

Authors:

Deepthi H. Edussuriya ,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About Deepthi H.
Department of Forensic Medicine
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Kosala N. Marambe,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About Kosala N.
Medical Education Unit
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Nilukshi Abeyasinghe,

University of Colombo, LK
About Nilukshi
Department of Forensic Medicine and Texicology
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T. Ponnampalam

Eastern University, LK
About T.
Medical Education and Research unit
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Abstract

In Sri Lanka many medical officers function as expert medical witnesses in court. Some function as forensic pathologists with postgraduate training in Forensic Medicine, some perform medico legal work as part of their day to day duties with purely undergraduate knowledge in Forensic Medicine and others perform medico legal duties as incidental services during the course of a routine clinical practice. No studies have been conducted in Sri Lanka to identify the competencies necessary to function as expert medical witnesses in court. Different categories of people were identified in order to assist in this task. The judiciary was considered one such important category as they are directly involved in using the evidence of doctors in the administration of justice.

 

Objective: To identify competencies required by expert medical witnesses in court, as perceived by the judiciary, in the Sri Lankan context.

 

Method: Fourteen semi-structured in-depth interviews were carried out on lawyers and judges on their perceptions of the competencies required by expert medical witnesses in court.

 

Results: Data analysis revealed the following as important competencies in providing expert medical evidence to court, recording information accurately and completely in an appropriate and legible manner, demonstrating scientific approach, utilizing principles of critical thinking, reasoning and evaluation, working efficiently within the existing legal system and medico-legal framework, maintaining integrity and providing evidence in court in a convincing manner.

 

Conclusion: These findings would assist the development of future Forensic Medicine programs in Sri Lanka, in order to produce competent expert medical witnesses to court.

How to Cite: Edussuriya, D.H., Marambe, K.N., Abeyasinghe, N. and Ponnampalam, T., 2012. Perceptions of judiciary on competencies needed by medical officers to provide expert evidence in Sri Lanka. South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education, 6(2), pp.14–19. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/seajme.v6i2.162
Published on 29 Dec 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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