Basson hearing prejudicial - counsel

2013-11-15 13:27
Wouter Basson (Picture: AFP)

Wouter Basson (Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - A hearing into the conduct of Dr Wouter Basson 30 years after his alleged transgressions is prejudicial to the cardiologist, his defence counsel said on Friday.

"Dr Basson testified about the state of circumstances at that time... those were mad times," Advocate Jaap Cilliers, said.

"It is very difficult to put you back into those circumstances, honourable chairperson."

Basson headed South Africa's chemical and biological warfare programme in the 1980s.

Cilliers presented his closing arguments at the six-year long hearing initiated by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) in Pretoria.

Committee chair Judge Frikkie Hugo asked Cilliers whether that period was the only time medical practitioners practised their trade.

"During those mad times, as you say, was it the only times health professionals worked?"

Cilliers replied: "No. Medical practitioners have been practising for centuries."

Basson's conduct at the time was mainly to ensure the safety of the populace in the least harmful way, he said.

Complaints lodges in 2000

The hearing into Basson's conduct should have been brought years ago.

Complaints against Basson were lodged in 2000.

A charge sheet was provided in 2006, Cilliers said.

"No explanation was provided by the complainant for the unreasonable delay of six years, which we submit, is unreasonable and procedurally unfair administrative action."

The charges against Basson arise from his involvement in the apartheid government's chemical and biological warfare programme in the 1980s and early 1990s.

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

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

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

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

Read more on:    hpcsa  |  wouter basson

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