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Bone X-ray exam used to determine Bella's age, court hears

Medical officer Dr B Anulaawathi says the girl was found to be 15 when the examination was done in 2020.

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Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama
Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama

The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court was today told that a bone age X-ray examination in 2020 had found that Bella, a teenage girl with Down syndrome, was 15 at the time. 

The medical officer at the radiology department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Dr B Anulaawathi, 39, said the girl’s age was found to be 15 after analysis through three aspects, namely chronological age, brush foundation data and based on a reference book known as the Radiographic Atlas Skeletal Development of the Hand and Wrist Book, by Greulich and Pyle.

The 13th prosecution witness, who was previously with the radiology department at Hospital Tunku Azizah in Kuala Lumpur, said the report on the X-ray was completed on Aug 3, 2020, following an application by the paediatric department on July 23, 2020.

"When compared with the X-ray reference image for a 13-year-old, we found that it is still not the same as the X-ray scan of Bella's bones... Bella is older than the reference photo age of someone aged 13 years and six months.

"We continued to look at the reference picture for the age of 15 and we found that the picture is similar with Bella's X-ray, whereby the bone growth plate in the wrist is still visible," he said.
He said this at the trial of Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali before judge Izralizam Sanusi.

When questioned by deputy public prosecutor Nor Azizah Mohamad during examination-in-chief on whether the reference book was used as part of the SOP for bone age analysis in hospitals nationwide, the witness answered yes.

Anulaawathi said the reference book contains a series of X-rays as a reference for the gender and age of an individual from birth to the age of 18.

To another question from the prosecution on whether he had met Bella or any of the paediatric team while conducting the bone age analysis, he said no as there was no need to do so since all of the information was already in the system.

When questioned by lawyer Nur A’minahtul Mardiah Md Nor, representing Siti Bainun, the witness agreed with the lawyer that his role was only to prepare a report after receiving instructions from the paediatric team.

Siti Bainun, 30, faces two charges of neglecting and abusing the girl, causing her to suffer physical and emotional injuries.

She was charged with committing the offence at a condominium in Wangsa Maju between February and June 2021.

The charge, under Section 31 (1)(a) of the Child Act 2001, carries imprisonment of up to 20 years, a maximum fine of RM50,000, or both, upon conviction.