Missing records may set prof free
Western Cape / 03 Jan '13, 12:08am
Cape Town - Cape Town professor Cyril Karabus’s ordeal in Abu Dhabi may be over in two days if prosecutors fail to come up with the missing original medical records required by the judge for him to stand trial.
This is according to his lawyer Michael Bagraim, who told the Cape Argus on Wednesday that he was “upbeat” that the case would be thrown out of court in two days if the missing medical records didn’t surface.
Jenifer Karabus and lawyer Michael Bagraim are hopeful that Professor Cyril Karabus will return home soon. File picture: Michael Walke. Credit: INLSA
Karabus’s trial was postponed for the 13th time on Wednesday after prosecutors failed, yet again, to produce the missing medical records that are the “key” in proving his innocence.
Karabus, 77, an emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town, is being detained in Abu Dhabi on charges of manslaughter and falsifying documents.
He was arrested on August 18 while in transit in Dubai on his way to South Africa after his son’s wedding in Toronto, Canada.
Speaking from Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, Karabus told the Cape Argus that he was “tired and frustrated” by the lack of information he was getting from the courts.
“I don’t know if or when I will have to appear in court again,” he said.
Karabus’s wife, Jenifer, told the Cape Times earlier this week that she believed the South African embassy had done nothing to help her husband.
“They gave him newspapers in prison and the consul was there in court, but otherwise they have done sweet diddly.”
Prosecutors argue that in 2000, when Karabus worked as a locum at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi, he failed to give a blood transfusion to a three-year-old Yemeni cancer patient, causing her death.
A specialist paediatric oncologist, Karabus was tried and convicted in absentia in the UAE in 2002, on charges of manslaughter and falsifying documents, and was sentenced to three years and six months in jail. His sentence included the payment of about R230 000 “blood money” – to the victim’s family.
The medical file includes Karabus’s notes, laboratory reports, as well as details of the girl’s three-week period before he started treating her.
“The judge indicated in court that this would be the last postponement. He gave prosecutors two days to come up with the originals.
“He said without them he won’t have enough to prosecute Karabus and there won’t be a trial,” said Bagraim
On Sunday, the judge will decide whether Karabus will later stand trial or not.
Karabus, who has a pacemaker, is living with Dr Elwin Buchel, the former head of gastroenterology at the University of Pretoria.
Bagraim explained that the missing medical file had been a “massive problem” since Karabus’s nightmarish experience had begun.
“We suspect they (medical records) were destroyed a long time ago and no one is going to find them. We hope, come Sunday, Karabus will be able to come home,” he said.