x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Retrial begins for South African doctor arrested on return to UAE

76-year-old doctor on trial for negligence that led to death of patient years after he was sentenced in absentia.

ABU DHABI // Two years after he fled the country, a 76-year-old doctor is on trial for negligence in the death of a patient.

The Criminal Court heard that the South African was arrested at the airport after returning to the UAE with a year still left on his original sentence, though it was not clear whether he had meant to turn himself in.

He had fled the UAE in 2010 and been sentenced in absentia to three years for forgery and six months for negligence and ordered to pay Dh200,000 in blood money to the family of the Arab woman whose death he caused.

By law any verdict announced in absentia is subject to a retrial at the request of the defendant.

The doctor was working for a government hospital when the patient visited him with a complaint that required a blood transfusion.

Prosecutors claim the transfusion was never made, despite the doctor writing a report saying that it had been. The lack of such a transfusion is blamed for the patient's death.

A post-mortem report at the doctor's original trial showed the woman had not received a transfusion, which led the court to conclude the report he wrote was a forgery.

The doctor asked for bail, citing his old age and poor health, but the court refused, citing his previous attempt to escape justice.

hdajani@thenational.ae