Wouter Basson lawyer challenges expert witnesses’ testimonies

2013-11-15 16:17

The advocate representing Dr Wouter Basson at the hearing, where he is facing charges of unprofessional conduct relating to his involvement in the apartheid government’s chemical and biological warfare research, has asked the tribunal to disregard the testimony of the complainant’s expert witnesses.

Jaap Cilliers said: “Two experts (professors Steven Miles and Solomon Benatar) who testified on behalf of the complainant expressed their opinion that Basson had conducted himself unprofessionally but did not provide evidence.”

During closing arguments, he tore into the testimony of Miles, saying he was neither a reliable nor impressive witness.

“There are better experts than him who could have been called.”

He further cautioned the tribunal, which is chaired by bioethics expert Professor Jannie Hugo, saying: “You should be very careful to follow opinions expressed by Miles.

“His approach was: I studied protocol and Basson’s conduct contravenes these protocols. His testimony is not of any real assistance to you.”

Hugo seemed irritated by this and said Cilliers should leave it to the tribunal to decide whether Miles’ testimony was reliable.

A ruling is expected on December 18.

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