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Jakarta Post

Toxicologist questions police’s method in determining cyanide as Mirna's killer

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
    Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, September 14, 2016   /  05:03 pm
Toxicologist questions police’s method in determining cyanide as Mirna's killer Defendant Jessica Kumala Wongso in attendance of her trial at the Central Jakarta District Court for the murder of Wayan Mirna Salihin on Aug. 25. (Antara Photo/Yudhi Mahatma)

A chemical toxicologist testifying for murder defendant Jessica Kumala Wongso has questioned the method used by the police's toxicologist to determine the poison type found in victim Wayan Mirna Salihin's body as it was not clearly stated in the police report.

“What was the method used by the toxicologist? The method to determine the poison as cyanide was not described in the police's report. From many different poisons, why did Nursamran finally conclude it to be cyanide?” Budiawan, a chemical toxicologist, said in defence of Jessica Kumala Wongso to the Central Jakarta District Court on Wednesday, while referring to toxicology expert Nursamran Subandi from the National Police's Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim).

Budiawan said he believed Nursamran's estimation of the cyanide amount in the Vietnamese coffee was invalid. In a previous hearing, Nursamran stated that Mirna's coffee might have contained 7,400 to 7,900 milligrams per liter of cyanide. 

“Even if there was around 10 mg of cyanide per L, immediate evacuation of people around it would have needed to occur. If there was 7,400 to 7,900 mg per L cyanide in Mirna’s coffee, the cyanide should have been smelled throughout the café,” Budiawan added.

In line with Jessica’s previous expert witnesses, the Australian forensic doctor Beng Beng Ong and medical doctor Djaja Surya Atmadja, Budiawan said a victim of cyanide-poisoning would have specific symptoms such as reddish skin and thiocyanate substances found in the liver. The witness felt this was not the case with the police's report that stated Mirna did not have any of those symptoms. (rin)


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