News24

Court to rule on Wouter Basson

2012-01-27 09:34

Pretoria - The North Gauteng High Court is expected to rule on Friday on an application by cardiologist Wouter Basson for his discharge on six charges of unprofessional conduct.

Basson has been accused of unprofessional conduct while he headed South Africa's chemical and biological warfare programme and is appearing before the Health Professions Council of SA's professional conduct committee.

He was not present at Thursday's hearing when the discharge application was made, but legal argument continued in his absence.

Jaap Cilliers SC, appearing for Basson, argued that no case had been made on which his client could be found guilty of unethical or unprofessional conduct.

Soldier of war

He said Basson maintained that he had acted as a soldier in a war and that his involvement in the apartheid government's chemical and biological warfare programme had been aimed at developing a defensive capability for the SA Defence Force.

Cilliers argued that two medical ethics experts who testified for the prosecution had contradicted each other, and that there was no evidence on which Basson could be convicted unless he was called to the witness box and incriminated himself.

Prosecutor Salie Joubert argued that Basson had implicated himself in both his plea explanation and in his evidence in his criminal trial - in which he was acquitted on charges ranging from murder to fraud.

Joubert said there were volumes of evidence against Basson which clearly showed he had transgressed all of codes applicable to medical ethics.

"He acted as a traitor to his own soldiers when he provided them with cyanide capsules. You don't just pop it into your mouth and die. It's a terrible way to die," Joubert said.

He argued that there was enough evidence to convict Basson on four of the charges and that it would be unfair to discharge him at this stage.

Comments
  • Shirley - 2012-01-27 10:03

    This should be interesting. He was acting in a time of war and not that of a doctor in private practice. MANY scientists have medical doctorate degrees.So how does one FAIRLY set a precident? If he is found guilty then all scientists working on "warfare applications" should fall into the same catagory!

      paulmandlankosi - 2012-01-27 10:06

      Does he have a doctorate, Shirley?

      Barker - 2012-01-27 10:10

      Time to prosecute all the 'doctors' who perform tests on animals. Cruelty to animals.

      Gideon - 2012-01-27 10:18

      I agree! We should posthumously put Albert Einstein on trial for his involvement in the production of nuclear weapons that ended WWII, as well as Wernher von Braun for his role in the development of the V2 missile for Nazi Germany, despite that he also helped NASA put a man on the moon after the war. Where do we draw the line, and when does prosecution turn into persecution? Amnesty be damned? As a medical professional the man can at least do some good to people in need, and last time I checked we needed doctors in this country?

      Jeffrey - 2012-01-27 10:34

      Paul - yes, the article states that he's a cardiologist. Have to have a doctorate for that, even in SA Gideon - correct, we do need doctors in this country. This one, however, is currently not practicing and likely never will, so that's not really an argument. And are you serious suggesting that the nuclear attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima were, in hindsight, a good thing? The charges are for violating the medical ethics code. That's hard to prove, but the prosecution think they can. If they can, lock him up. If not, I'm not sure I want someone who thought the apartheid era was a full-scale war practicing medicine anyway. Should be interesting to see the outcome of this (assuming News24 bother to publish it).

      Brian - 2012-01-27 10:36

      Paulmandlankosi. Of course he has - what prompts you to ask?

      Brian - 2012-01-27 10:39

      Gideon. As a patient of his I can personally testify to "the lot of good" he is doing. He is a much sought after practitioner amongst his colleagues and patients.

      Daniel - 2012-01-27 10:41

      Jeffrey, get your facts straight, he IS actually practicing and is in fact a very well respected cardiologist !!

      John - 2012-01-27 11:31

      Still the witch hunt continues driven by the fools in the ANC still smarting after the drumming Wouter gave them in all their previous attempts to nail him. This man is the type of person to have in your corner in any circumstance and the fact that he was sold out by the previous idiots in power, left out to dry and he still wiped the floor with the State, deserves admiration! You go, Wouter!!

      paulmandlankosi - 2012-01-27 20:26

      You are all lying, he does not have a doctorate

  • Gideon - 2012-01-27 10:57

    @Jeffrey: Regarding the atomic weapons, yes, they were ultimately a good thing. The reason being, and if you go research this you will agree with me, that had the US attempted an invasion of Japan thousands of US soldiers and Japanese civilians would be killed in the brutal street fighting. The war would have dragged on for maybe another year or more, and the USSR would have launched their own invasion of Japan creating a West Germany/East Germany scenario. In my opinion, it worked out better.

  • daleen.thomson - 2012-01-27 21:44

    What he did was wrong and there's no argueing that. He should've known better and he could've refused. Although, if he really wants to continue practising, let him do it in a state hospital with no option of a private practice. The man is not evil and he certainly could make a huge difference as he should!

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