Court to rule on Wouter Basson
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.