Basson disgraceful, HPCSA hears

2014-11-26 13:24
Wouter Basson (Picture: AFP)

Wouter Basson (Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - Cardiologist Dr Wouter Basson acted in a manner disgraceful to the medical profession, a Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) sentencing hearing was told on Wednesday.

"We will argue that his conduct [during the apartheid era] amounts to disgraceful conduct and that Dr Basson is a disgrace to the medical profession," pro forma prosecutor Sallie Joubert told the hearing in Pretoria.

Joubert submitted that the appropriate penalty would be striking Basson from the register of medical professionals and payment of the cost of the HPCSA inquiry into his conduct.

"The committee should consider the nature of the transgressions. The transgressions are of an unprofessional conduct of a disgraceful nature.

"The committee must also consider the interests of the community," said Joubert.

Found guilty

Basson's HPCSA sentencing hearing began on Wednesday. In December last year the HPCSA found Basson guilty of unprofessional conduct.

The inquiry was held to determine whether Basson acted unethically in the exercise of his duties as a chemical warfare expert.

He was accused of acting unethically by being involved in the large-scale production of Mandrax, cocaine, and teargas, of weaponising teargas, and of supplying it to Angola's then Unita leader Jonas Savimbi.

He was also accused of acting unethically by providing disorientating substances for cross-border kidnappings, and by making cyanide capsules available for distribution to operatives for use in committing suicide.

In 2002, Basson was acquitted by the North Gauteng High Court of criminal charges arising from his conduct.

Petitions signed

The State appealed against this decision in the Supreme Court of Appeal but the appeal was dismissed.

The State then went to the Constitutional Court but the case was dismissed in September 2005.

The HPCSA reviewed the judgment to establish if there were grounds to continue with an inquiry.

On Wednesday, arguing in aggravation of Basson's sentence, Joubert said petitions had been signed by hundreds of people, including medical professionals, calling for Basson to be removed from the medical professions register.

Joubert called in legal advocacy group Section27 executive director Mark Heywood, but Basson's lawyer Jaap Cilliers requested an adjournment.

He said he wanted to check the admissibility of Heywood's evidence. The hearing will resume after an early lunch break.

Read more on:    hpcsa  |  wouter basson

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