Monday 23 April 2018

Family of liposuction-death man question wife on validity of marriage

Andrea Galeano, widow of Pierre Christian Lawlor
Andrea Galeano, widow of Pierre Christian Lawlor
Pierre Christian Lawlor
Claudine and Tom Lawlor at the Coroner’s Court

Gareth Naughton

The family of a Dublin man who died while having liposuction in Colombia has questioned the validity of his marriage to his South American wife.

The inquest into the death of father-of-one Pierre Christian Lawlor (34), from Belarmine Place in Stepaside, Co Dublin, was adjourned early in order to establish that his wife Andrea Galeano is the next of kin.

The court also heard that Dr Ricardo Lancheros, the plastic surgeon who carried out the operation, is refusing to give evidence at the inquest.

Mr Lawlor died on the operating table as he underwent liposuction and extensive plastic surgery at a Bogota clinic on September 3, 2007.

His death had been the subject of a previous inquest at the Dublin County Coroner's Court, however, the open verdict was later quashed by the High Court.

Cocaine

The second inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court had heard that Mr Lawlor and Ms Galeano, a Venezuelan, met over the internet in early 2006 and were married with a newborn son – Zachary – by the end of the year.

They were visiting her family in Colombia when the operation took place. She told the court that she did not want Mr Lawlor to have the surgery and that she believed he had taken cocaine in the days before the operation.

On her second day on the stand, solicitor for the Lawlor family James MacGuill questioned Ms Galeano about whether she had been previously married.

Initially, she denied this. However, when Mr MacGuill raised the matter of a marriage to a man in Colombia in March 2002, Ms Galeano said that the marriage did not have legal status.

Representing Ms Galeano, barrister Ross Aylward said that her marriage to Mr Lawlor was registered by Irish authorities, making Ms Galeano the next of kin. It was not within the court's jurisdiction to question the legality of the marriage, he added.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell agreed that it was not within his jurisdiction to investigate the marriage, but adjourned the inquest, saying that he would like to see the Irish marriage certificate.

The court also heard that Dr Lancheros is refusing to give evidence.

In a letter rejecting an invitation to appear via Skype, Dr Lancheros wrote that he could not agree to give verbal evidence, citing Colombian law on doctor-patient confidentiality.

Mr MacGuill said that Dr Lancheros had also indicated to other parties that he felt his English was not sufficient enough to give evidence.

State pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy told the court that her post-mortem found no evidence of "obvious acute complications" from the surgery.

She noted some evidence of heart failure and said that liposuction could cause cardiac complications in cases where excess fat was removed.

The inquest is set to resume today.

Irish Independent

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