Friday, September 6, 2013

A Quick Guide to Proving Death By Poison

Death by poisoning can be the result of a crime, whether the poisoning was done intentionally or accidentally. In intentional cases, investigators must prove that another person or entity deliberately caused the administration of poison to the victim's body. If the poisoning was accidental, the person or entity behind the victim's unintended exposure to the poison will need to account for their negligence.

Those prosecuting a death by poisoning case need to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, that the death was caused by a poison. Investigators then need to collect evidence to show that another party was responsible for the poisoning. From the evidence they gather, the investigators then need to determine whether the poisoning was done intentionally or accidentally; and in the case of the latter, they have to further evaluate if negligence was involved.

In establishing that the cause of the death was poison, the expertise of forensic toxicologists is often required. They examine the victim's body to find traces of the poison, identify the kind of poison involved, and determine that the amount of poison ingested by the victim was sufficient to cause death. The poison has to be present in the victim's circulation system and/or body organs. Its presence in the victim's gastrointestinal tract alone does not prove that the death was caused by the poison. It has to be shown that the poisonous element has penetrated through the person's intestinal walls and into the circulation system, which carried the poison to other parts of the body. 

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