Former pathologist who sold body parts given 10-year jail sentence

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A former Diepkloof principal specialist forensic pathologist has been sentenced to 10 years for the theft of human organs from dead bodies, News24 reports that the National Prosecuting Authority has confirmed. Doctor James Blair Mwesigwa, 60, was sentenced in the Kempton Park Regional Court.

The report quotes Gauteng NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane as saying that the State successfully proved that he had violated the corpse of Alida Scheepers after it was brought to him for a post-mortem examination. “State advocate Riana Williams succeeded in leading evidence that convinced the court that Mwesiga removed without permission of the family and retained amongst others, the heart, lungs, pharynx and larynx from Scheepers’ body.”

The report says Mwesigwa was suspended from the Diepkloof mortuary in November 2013 after he tried to walk out of the mortuary with a bucket that contained a brain and heart. The doctor failed to record and state reasons for performing such a procedure as prescribed by the law relating to the use of human biological material in the National Health Act 61 of 2003.

Mwesigwa’s argument was ruled unsubstantial and not compelling for him to be granted a lessor sentence. He had previously brought an application for leave to appeal to the High Court against conviction and sentence, which was dismissed.

News24 report

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