Doctor cleared of UAE manslaughter 'to be freed next week'

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The lawyer representing a doctor cleared of decade-old manslaughter charges in the UAE ago is “very optimistic” that the judge will dismiss a final appeal on April 29, with his client flying back to his native South African in the following days.

Cyril Karabus, a paediatric oncologist, was accused of killing a three-year-old leukaemia patient while working in Abu Dhabi in 2002, and was convicted and sentenced to three years in jail and ordered to pay AED100,000 ($27,226) without his knowledge.

Karabus was arrested at Dubai airport in August last year as he changed flights on his way home from his son’s wedding in Canada, and in the intervening months has had bail denied four times, as well as having his case postponed 13 times.

Following the meeting of a medical review committee comprising nine doctors last month, Karabus was cleared of any wrongdoing and subsequently found not guilty by the court, although prosecutors submitted a last ditch appeal on Tuesday.

South African media initially reported that Karabus would fly home on Tuesday, but the judge presiding over the case in Abu Dhabi has said that it will take until Monday to reach a verdict on the appeal.

“I’m very optimistic that there will be a ‘not guilty’ finding and he should be coming home,” Cape Town-based lawyer Michael Bagraim told Arabian Business by phone. “The medical committee completely absolved Professor Karabus [of any wrongdoing].”

Bagraim admitted that he was “overly optimistic” to assume that the judge would have reached a verdict on April 23.

“We were being a little bit optimistic. The judge said it would be the end of the road but obviously he wants to consider his verdict now,” Bagraim added. “You can’t pressurise a judge anywhere in the world, he needs time to decide which is understandable.”

Bagraim said that he believed it would take two or three days for his client to have his passport returned, but after that expected him to fly to Cape Town immediately.

Bagraim described the mood of Karabus, who is currently being held in an apartment, as “depressed” but “comfortable”.

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