Legal team for pro-life doctor may take quest for justice to High Court

Attorney Martus de Wet, left and Dr Jacques De Vos at a Health Professions Council for South Africa disciplinary hearing on August 27 last year (PHOTO: Kevin Brandt/EWN)

The legal team for Doctor Jacques de Vos are preparing for a possible High Court application compelling the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to deliver a verdict in the protracted case in which the young medic was charged with unprofessional conduct because of his pro-life views.

Confirming this yesterday, Martus de Wet, attorney for De Vos, said that they have still had no response from the HPCSA disciplinary hearing committee to their request for a verdict first made three weeks ago when the committee announced they were withdrawing all charges against the doctor.

In a previous interview De Wet told Gateway News that De Vos was legally entitled to a verdict after he had pleaded not guilty and had presented uncontested defence evidence in the case which had dragged on for more than two years.

De Vos’s career has been on hold for more than three years since 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg, Cape Town suspended him over his views and refused to sign off his medical internship.

 “He must be acquitted after which he can sue for damages,” said De Wet in a previous interview.

The HPCSA has told the media that charges against De Vos were withdrawn because the complainant no longer wished to proceed with a complaint she had lodged against De Vos three years ago for advising her that the unborn baby she wanted to abort was a human being.

But the doctor’s legal team dispute the HPCSA’s explanation for dropping the charges, saying the real complainant was never the pregnant woman. After charges were withdrawn on October 6 they asked the disciplinary hearing committee to deliver a verdict and to investigate those responsible with driving a vendetta against De Vos and to charge them with unprofessional conduct.

In a letter to the coordinator of the committee, dated October 19, De Wet says: “As mentioned before, withdrawal, after Dr De Vos pleaded, is not possible in law. There can be no doubt whatsoever that you, the Pro Forma Complainant and whoever else is responsible for conducting disciplinary hearings, are aware of this.”

The letter requests that a hearing be convened within two weeks — if necessary via the internet.

“Should we not hear from you within seven days of date hereof, we will have no choice but to approach the High Court on a basis of urgency for a mandamus compelling you to perform your legal duty.

“In such a mandamus application we reserve our right to ask for a special costs order against the HPCSA, and/or against individuals at the HPCSA in their personal capacities given the vexatious and malicious conduct of the persons responsible, and the ongoing and extreme prejudice this conduct is causing Dr De Vos,” says the letter.

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