Criminal case against Joburg doctor to go ahead despite colleague’s suspected assassination
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The State has maintained that the case against the colleague of a doctor killed in a suspected hit will go ahead despite his colleague’s high-profile murder.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that concerns by medical professionals about the prosecution of practitioners suspected of being involved in negligent deaths of patients were misplaced as the State was bound by the law to act.
The NPA was also reacting to last week’s gunning down of Dr Abdulhay Munshi, who was shot six times in the head in what the South African Medical Association (Sama) contended was a hit.
Munshi, together with his colleague, Professor Peter Beale, was facing culpable homicide charges for his role in the alleged negligence that led to the death of 10-year-old Zayyan Sayed, who died after a routine operation last October.
The NPA said it would still prosecute Beale, who was expected back in court in November.
“If it appears that a medical practitioner may have acted in a manner that resulted in the negligent loss of life, the NPA is duty-bound to take action with the aim of deciding whether or not criminal proceedings should be instituted against such a medical practitioner.
“Subsequent to a criminal charge of medical negligence laid by the father of the deceased boy, Zayyan Sayed, in October 2019, the NPA… enrolled a case of culpable homicide against two medical practitioners,” the authority said.
“This (was) after assessing the case docket and establishing that there were reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution (a prima facie case). The decision to prosecute Dr Beale and Dr Munshi meant that there was no need to refer the matter for an inquest hearing,” the NPA said.
It added that all citizens of South Africa were equal before the law.
“It is therefore our view that if medical practitioners, in the execution of their duties, act within the confines of the law, then they do not have to fear criminal prosecution.”