Peter Beale was charged for the deaths of a ten-year-old child and a 21-month-old baby – both, who died following the same surgery that the pediatrician performed on them.

Murder-accused pediatric surgeon Peter Beale was expected to return to court on Wednesday.

In 2019, ten-year-old Zayyaan Sayed died following a surgery Beale performed on him.

Beale was subsequently charged with culpable homicide.

In 2022, that was charge was upgraded to murder.

An additional charge of culpable homicide was added to Beale’s indictment after the death of 21-month-old Alissa Strydom, following the same surgery.

Wednesday would mark his first appearance in the dock since then.

The state alleges Peter Beale acted recklessly and that the surgeries he performed weren’t necessary.

Beale was initially charged alongside anesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi, but in September 2020 Munshi was shot dead. No one has been arrested for the crime.

It’s a watershed case that thrust the culpability of doctors in South Africa to the fore.

Some members of the healthcare profession rallied around Beale and his prosecution attracted significant controversy from within their ranks.

In 2021, a group of organisations, including the South African Medical Association, even wrote to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola asking for legislative reform to better protect healthcare practitioners.

It was understood that there were some new developments in the case, including new charges leveled against Beale, and it was unclear whether Wednesday’s proceedings would go ahead as originally planned.

By: Bernadette Wicks

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