Morning Session: Cross-Examination of Expert Witness TF1-358 Continues

10:00am: Court resumed in open session and defense counsel Mr. Terry Munyard continued the cross-examination of Witness TF1-358. During the said cross-examination, defense counsel Mr. Munyard asked a few questions about medical treatment that the witness offered to Kamajors, based on a request from the Late Chief Sam Hinga Norman, and spent the remainding time of the morning session questioning the witness about his qualifications as a psychiatrist.

Medical Treatment for Kamajors

Mr. Munyard asked the witnsss about his testimony that Hinga Norman brought 13 Kamajors for medical treatment on January 8, 1999.  The witness agreed with counsel on the medical treatment for the Kamajors but stated that he wanted to clarify the statement. He said that Hinga Norman did not come with the kamajors himself but sent them with a note to him, asking that they be treated for badly burnt injuries. He said that the statement that Hinga Norman came with the Kamajors himself was an error. Asked as to the reason for the error, the witness said that this is his first time testifying in court and so he became a little overwhelmed by the courtroom set-up.  He said that the right thing to say is that Hinga Norman first sent a note that the Kamajors be treated and then he later went to the institution himself. Counsel asked the witness to tell the court what he meant by the the word that Norman asked him to “kindly” provide medical treatment for the Kamajors. The witness responded that he used the word because that was what Hunga Norman wrote in his note to him.

Qualifications as a Psychiatrist

Counsel sought to establish the witness’s qualifications as a psychiatrist as stated in his biography and resume submitted to the court. The witness had said in his statement and testimony that before having a real psychiatrist, he was the one providing counselling to victims that went to his institution.  The witness said that a psychiatrist later came in as a consultant to the institution. When asked about his qualification as a psychiatrist, the witness said that he had some experience during his medical training and an internship he did after medical school. Defense counsel suggested that the assessment of psychiatric conditions of victims was based on the witness’s non-expert assessment. The witness disagreed with counsel. Counsel asked the witness about the meaning of GP in the Britsih Medical Practice. The witness explained the difference between a GP and a Family Physician in the UK and Sierra Leone. He said that the scope of practice between the two is different in both countries.

Counsel referenced the documents filed about the witness’s qualifications that his expertise included handling cases of emotional impact of injury or sexual violence. Defense counsel suggested that the witness does have some experience, not an expertese in handling these cases. The witness responded that the experience depends on the amount of patients you handle and how their cases are managed.  He said that a GP does psychiatric work and has experience treating such patients.  He said that it is not physically possible for the only psychiatrist in Sierra Leone to treat all the patients in the country. Defense counsel quoted the witness’s statement during examination-in-chief-that he spent two years in Lodnon doing effective study in cardiology. The witnes responded that the statement was made in error. Defense counsel asked about a Reverend friend that the witness brought to the institution to work as counsellor to victims who suffered emotional injuries. The witness said that this was done because there were many acute patients and he needed more help. When asked about the Reverend’s qualifications for such a job, the witness said he cant say what the qualifications were but he knew that the Reverend had experience in the field.

Counsel asked the witness how he was able to diagnos Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The witness responded that you make an assessment of what the patient has gone through and then come up with signs and symptoms.  He said that PTSD is not specific but you can look at a broad range of conditions and the situation that the patient has undergone.  Counsel asked the whether he is aware of any international standards that determine psychiatric conditions. The witness responded that he is aware of a group of symptoms used to assess psychiatric conditions. He said that he found these in text books. Counsel asked him whether he was aware of any Standard International Manual but the witness said no.

Use of Drugs

Counsel referenced the witness’s evidence that some patients had plaster wounds on their foreheads with brown powder, commonly known as brown-brown underneath the plasters. Counsel asked the witness to state the poppy clan group of drugs and the witness mentioned morphin and cocaine among others.  He said that some of them have medicinal value. He said they are hallucinogenic. Counsel asked the witness to state how much training he has in pharmacology and the witness said that he has 3 years experience in a blend of pharacology and therapeutics. Counsel asked the witness to state where he thinks concaine comes from and he said it is from a group similar to those of poppy clans. Counsel also asked the witness whether he knew the definition of hallocinogenic drugs and if yes, to give examples.  The witness said that they include synthetics like cocaine, heroine, etc.  He said that the effects of cocaines and heroine are very similar. When asked about what cocaine does to the body, the witness said that it causes a false sense of wellbeing, fantacising, seeing things, smelling things and hallucination. When asked about the effects of heroine, he said that they are similar to those of cocaine and they cause addiction after prolonged use.  Counsel asked the witness to state whether either of cocaine or heroine was a sedative or stumulant drug. The witness said that they both stimulate or sedate depending on the dose taken.  Counsel asked the witness whether he was seriously telling the court that cocaine sedates. Counsel asked the witness whether he would agree that cocaine is a stimulant while heroine is a sedative. The witness said that he would not agree completely because at lower levels, both drugs sedate a patient while at higher levels, they sedate, making patients unconscious or even resulting in death.  Defense counsel insisted that they are different while witness held his ground that they both sedate and stimulate. He said that the withdrawal symptoms are the same in the two drugs. Defense counsel put it to the witness that he is totally wrong.  Counsel presented to the witness a copy of the Drug Abuse Research by the National Institute of Health in the USA, which does not state cocaine and heroine as hallocinogenic drugs. The witness responded that since the institute is an authority in the filed, the report might be right but as far as he knows, both drigs are referred to as hallucinogenic. He, however, argued that the report just defines what hallucinogens are and states a few examples. He said that there are a host of other hallucinogens. Defense put it to the witness that the withdrawal effects are different in both drugs and that one is a stimulant while the other is a sedative.

Court adjourned for mid-morning break.