Doctor at Center of Canadian Tainted Blood Scandal Must Stand Trial Despite Poor Health, Judge Says
August 5, 2005
A Canadian judge on Wednesday ruled that a doctor accused of allowing an HIV-positive blood-clotting product to be administered to hemophilia patients will stand trial despite his poor health, the CP/Ottawa Sun reports. Roger Perrault, former director of the blood transfusion service of the Canadian Red Cross, has been charged with four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and one count of common nuisance endangering the public for his alleged role in a scandal in the 1980s and early 1990s in which nearly 2,000 people contracted HIV and an estimated 20,000 people contracted hepatitis C from contaminated blood and blood products. However, Perrault, who is 68 years old and has had a heart attack and undergone an angioplasty and bypass surgery, had applied for the charges to be stayed on the grounds of poor health, a move that would have effectively withdrawn the charges before any evidence was presented. However, Justice Mary Lou Benetto said in her ruling that Perrault failed to show that the court proceedings, which could last 13 months, would pose a "real or substantial" risk to his health. Benetto said the trial needs to proceed in the interest of the public (Brautigam, CP/Ottawa Sun, 8/4).
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