Surgeon Peter Beale goes into hiding after murder of his co-accused, anaesthetist Abdulhay Munshi

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Prof. Peter Beale has reportedly gone into hiding after the murder of his co-accused, Dr Abdulhay Munshi.
Prof. Peter Beale has reportedly gone into hiding after the murder of his co-accused, Dr Abdulhay Munshi.
Werner Beukes
  • Surgeon and culpable homicide accused Professor Peter Beale has reportedly gone into hiding after the murder of his co-accused, anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi.
  • Beale reportedly went into hiding hours after the shooting and has not even had direct contact with his family.
  • Beale is scheduled to appear in court again on November 16.

Surgeon and culpable homicide accused, Professor Peter Beale, has gone into hiding, following the murder of his co-accused, anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi.

According to Sunday Times, Beale went into hiding just hours after Munshi was shot outside his Johannesburg home on Wednesday and he has not even had direct contact with his family. Instead, he is reportedly sending them messages via his lawyers and a close friend.

It is unclear whether Beale has been placed under protection or whether he has gone into hiding by choice.

Beale, 72, and Munshi, who appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court last month, are accused of being responsible for the death of 10-year-old Zayyaan Sayed.

Zayyaan died in October 2019 at Netcare's Park Lane Clinic shortly after Beale performed what was meant to be a routine laparoscopic operation to stop reflux.

Zayyaan's father, Mohammadh Sayed, has denied "any involvement in Munshi's killing".

In a statement on Friday, Sayed said he "sincerely hopes that the perpetrators will be found and brought to justice as soon as possible", adding that it was "a matter of public record" that he had followed a legal route "in pursuit of the truth" regarding the death of his son.

READ | Doctors who work inside the law have nothing to fear – NPA

According to Sunday Times, Beale's lawyer, Jeanne Albertse, said Beale had not received any death threats. She declined to comment on the allegations that Munshi’s death was linked to the death of Beale’s patient, and added that she was not able to disclose anything else due to attorney-client privilege.

Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) chairperson, Dr Kgosi Letlape, said the organisation lobbied for the case to be taken out of court.

"As council, we are extremely perturbed by what has happened and as we have tried in the matter to intervene and ensure the profession is treated with respect and professional acts are not criminalised and the laws of the country are followed in terms of procedure," Letlape said.

He said the council had previously written to the relevant authorities to take the matter out of court but had no success. Letlape said the HPCSA would now turn to the president for help.

"We are planning to write again to the authorities to ensure that this matter is taken out of the criminal courts and the laws of the country are followed. We will still pursue that matter," he said.

"We feel this is a sad day and it is dangerous if healthcare professionals are going to be treated like criminals. We hope this will be corrected as soon as possible."

Beale, who is out on R10 000 bail, is scheduled to appear in court again on 16 November, when a trial date is expected to be set.

- Compiled by Nicole McCain

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