Skip to comments.Witness Puts Blood Trial in Jeopardy
Posted on 02/13/2006 3:51:26 PM PST by neverdem
TORONTO The case against four physicians and a U.S. pharmaceutical company accused of failing to properly screen blood that infected thousands of Canadians with HIV and hepatitis was in jeopardy Monday after a key witness cast doubt on some evidence.
After years of investigation, opening arguments were set to begin in the criminal trial of New Jersey-based Armour Pharmaceutical Co.; the former medical director of the Canadian Red Cross, Dr. Roger Perrault; two other Canadian doctors and one from the United States.
But Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto was told that a prosecution witness has questioned some evidence against Perrault and the two other Canadian physicians and believes they may not be criminally negligent.
More than 1,000 Canadians became infected with HIV and up to 20,000 others contracted hepatitis C after receiving blood transfusions and tainted products from Armour in the 1980s and early 1990s. At least 3,000 people have died and others are terminally ill.
Benotto adjourned the trial until Feb. 21 while both sides interview Dr. Graham Dukes, a British expert who came to Toronto over the weekend.
Dukes, a lawyer, medical doctor and professor of pharmaceutical policy at the University of Oslo in Norway, initially said in a preliminary review of the case that the charges appeared to be well-founded.
But in his final draft report last week, Dukes said: "I do not believe that there is, in the documentary evidence available to me, a sufficient basis for the criminal charges against the blood transfusion service and its directors."
Perrault, 68, and the others are accused of allowing an HIV-infected, blood-clotting product to be given to hemophilia patients. Perrault faces four counts of criminal negligence and one count of endangering the public for his alleged role in the scandal.
Facing similar charges are Dr. Michael Rodell, an American and former vice president at Armour, based in Bridgewater, N.J., and Dr. Donald Wark Boucher and Dr. John Furesz, both former Canadian federal health officials.
Neither Rodell nor his company, Armour, were mentioned in court Monday. Their lawyer said Dukes did not appear to question the charges against them.
James Kreppner, a hemophiliac who received tainted blood in the 1980s and is gravely ill with HIV and hepatitis C, was distraught at the development.
A lawyer by training, though too ill to practice, he has been monitoring the case for other victims. Kreppner said he hoped the judge would consider all the evidence, especially from the more than 40 victims or relatives who are ready to testify.
"The documentary evidence is just one part of the entire case," he said, adding he would be "extremely angry" if prosecutors withdrew the charges against the Canadians.
"That would shake my confidence in the judicial system," he said.
Perrault's lawyer, Ed Greenspan, said federal prosecutors may not have a choice.
"It cries out, in this report, that there is no reasonable prospect of conviction," he said.
Federal prosecutor Michael Bernstein, however, told the judge that parts of Dukes' report indicated some charges might be valid. He chastised the defense attorneys for "cherry-picking" one aspect of the review.
Wasn't this the Tainted blood that Clinton had the prisoners in Arkansas give and Clinton made MONEY from the tainted blood??
Yes. And he isn't even mentioned.
Blood Trail Ping
Dukes no doubt has been hit with an "Arkancide" threat.
This development is bizarre. How does one so-called expert, from Europe, undermine a case based on extensive documentation and eyewitnesses? I looked at some of those documents years ago and didn't need a law degree to see the connivers at work.
Bump and a sigh!
Major bummer, BigM. Justice denied again. Or at least it LOOKS as if another nest of snakes is going to slither free. May I be wrong about that.
It wont mean the end of the trials but it will be a big setback for the victims, the crown and the RCMP who have all worked very hard and long to bring justice to the issue.
If anyone knows it'll be her.
This is the tainted blood/prisoner scandal - but I do not believe Clinton's profit was direct as in a bribe or kick-back. As I recall, the mutual benefit was indirect and political, like the campaign finance scandal.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.