Norwegian autopsy dip 'could miss murder'

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Norway's Chief Pathologist Torleiv Ole Rognum. File photo: Heiko Junge/Scanpix
11:19 CEST+02:00
Norway's Chief Pathologist has warned that coroners are not ordered to perform enough autopsies, citing fears that suspected murder cases may slip through the justice system's fingers.

Since a law change in 1992, local police districts must themselves pay for autopsies - a reform that saw the number of autopsies decline as the cost was heaped over from the Justice Ministry at state level to the local law enforcers.

Chief Pathologist Rognum has now warned that the low number of autopsies could mean that murders risk remaining undetected.

"It threatens the justice system," he told the Aftonposten newspaper.

About 4,000 Norwegians die from natural causes every year, with about 1,700 bodies forwarded to the pathologists for autopsy.

Rognum said his colleagues in  Sweden had a higher rate of performing autopsies.

"Of about 1,000 autopsies, one to two murders are discovered in Sweden," Rognum said.

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