x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Prosecutors appeal UAE cancer doctor's manslaughter acquittal

Dr Cyril Karabus, the South African doctor who was last week acquitted on charges of manslaughter and forgery, will have to go back to court as prosecutors appeal.

ABU DHABI // Dr Cyril Karabus, the South African doctor who was last week acquitted on charges of manslaughter and forgery, is to appear in court again early next month after prosecutors announced they were appealing the verdict.
The paediatric oncologist was arrested on August 18 last year while travelling through Dubai after a trip to Canada to attend his son's wedding.
He was detained over the death in 2002 of a three-year-old leukaemia patient who had been in his care while he was working at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.
A year after the girl died, the South African was put on trial without his knowledge. He was found guilty of causing her death by failing to give her a blood transfusion, and of forging a medical report to make it look as if he had.
The doctor is not allowed to travel outside of the UAE.
Dr Karabus said he was not sure what the future held for him or when he might be reunited with his family. He declined to make any further comments.
"He is disappointed for sure but this is the law," said Mohammed Al Sawan, Dr Karabus' lawyer. "An appeal is a right given by law to both sides."
During the retrial of the case, the higher Committee for Medical Liability found that Dr Karabus was not negligent in the girl's treatment. Key to the court's decision was the fact that no post-mortem examination had been carried out on the girl's body, court papers showed.
The South African, who is an emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town, was last week acquitted of the charges by the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court.
At the time, he had expressed his desire to return to his home country in time for his 78th birthday this coming Monday.
This now appears unlikely to happen after it was confirmed that public prosecutors had decided to appeal the court's verdict.
The case has attracted a lot of attention in the doctor's home country, with the South African government calling on the UAE to bring the case to a conclusion as quickly as possible.
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the international relations and cooperation minister, has written to her counterpart in the UAE requesting that the case be dealt with in a speedy and fair manner.
She said it was placing a strain on the good relations between the countries. In addition, the UAE ambassador to South Africa has been summoned to hear ministers' concerns.
In the UAE, the case has also highlighted the confusion that surrounds medical liability laws in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Many medical professionals believe the 2008 federal law does not favour them in a dispute with a patient.
Dr Karabus is due to appear again in front of the Appeals Court on April 9.
 
vtodorova@thenational.ae