x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Missing files found in manslaughter case against South African doctor

Vital medical records in the trial of a South African doctor for manslaughter have finally been presented to court.

ABU DHABI // Vital medical records in the trial of a South African doctor for manslaughter have finally been presented to court.

Prof Cyril Karabus and his lawyers, Mohamed Al Sawan and Khalfan Al Kaabi, have long insisted the full medical history of the three-year-old Yemeni cancer patient be made available because it was “vital to proving his innocence”.

Prof Karabus, a paediatric oncologist, is accused of causing the girl’s death by failing to give her a blood transfusion during her treatment at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), and of forging a report to make it look as though he had.

Abu Dhabi Criminal Court was told today that a second set of medical notes was originally thought by the hospital to be only a copy of the first set given to prosecutors, which is why they had been overlooked.

“A hospital employee thought that part one and two were the original file and its copy, so he only handed over one,” a legal source explained. “The hospital did not really refuse to hand over the notes, they just thought they had already done so.”

One of Prof Karabus’s lawyers, Mr Al Kaabi, insisted that all the original medical files be returned to court so the defence team could examine the forgery allegation.

The last party to hold the files was public prosecution, the judge said. He asked that prosecution officials present them to the court at the next hearing.

Mr Al Kaabi also raised an objection about the medical committee formed to advise the court on the case. He argued that representatives from the Abu Dhabi health authority should be excluded, because they were likely to be biased. The judge said that was a discussion for another day, and dismissed the objection.

The court will reconvene on January 3.

The girl died in 2002 while Prof Karabus was working as a locum at SKMC. The following year, after he had returned to South Africa, he was prosecuted in his absence and without his knowledge, and convicted of causing the girl’s death.

In August this year, during a stopover in Dubai on his way home from a family wedding in Canada, he was arrested and jailed.

His lawyers argued successfully for a new trial.

Prof Karabus, 77, who suffers from a heart condition, was initially denied bail. He is now staying with friends in Abu Dhabi after posting a surety of Dh100,000.

hdajani@thenational.ae