Martedì, 09 Febbraio 2016 17:11

<div> | Judgment reserved in Basson's HPCSA appeal</div>

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Johannesburg - Judgment was reserved in cardiologist DrWouter Basson's review application to set aside a decision by two members ofthe HPCSA's professional conduct committee not to recuse themselves from theproceedings against him.

The matter was heard in the High Court in Pretoria fromTuesday and was concluded on Wednesday.

The apartheid-era chemical warfare expert filed theapplication, saying he believed the two committee members were biased.

In December 2013, the Health Professions Council of SA's(HPCSA's) committee, headed by Professor Jannie Hugo, found Basson guilty onfour counts of unprofessional and unethical conduct as a medical doctor when heheaded the apartheid government's chemical and biological warfare programmebetween 1981 and 1992.

The committee found Basson acted unethically when heco-ordinated the large-scale production of illegal psychoactive drugs, equippedmortars with teargas, and provided military operatives with disorientatingsubstances to facilitate illegal cross-border kidnappings.

It found he acted unethically by making cyanide for SouthAfrican soldiers so they could commit suicide if captured, and that he hadviolated the medical ethical principle of "first do no harm".

Last January, the High Court ruled that Basson wasentitled to lodge a recusal application against the members of the committeeand interdicted the committee from continuing in Basson's absence.

The proceedings before the HPCSA had been stayed pendingthe application of Basson's review application.

Basson alleged the conduct of Hugo and fellow committeemember Professor Eddie Mhlanga created a perception of bias.

He said in an affidavit that their conduct should be seenin light of the fact that they had granted the prosecution a postponement ofalmost a year to search the world for an expert to contradict concessionsanother expert had made in his favour.

When his hearing started in 2007, the respondents werealready siding with the prosecution, he said.

Basson's advocate, Jaap Cilliers, said the fact thatBasson was forced to go to court before Hugo admitted being a member of theMedical Association, which agitated for his removal from the roll, showed hewas biased.

This was despite Hugo's protestation that he never signedthe petition.

Mhlanga was a member of the Rural Doctor's Association,which also signed a petition calling for Basson's removal.

The two petitions were allowed as evidence in aggravationof sentence, despite Basson's objections.

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