12 June 2012
A medical practitioners tribunal panel, which has replaced the GMC fitness to practice panel, has begun considering the case of a Scottish army medic who faces being struck off over allegations that he was involved in covering up the unlawful treatment of Iraqi detainees.
Dr Derek Keilloh was serving as a medical officer with the Queen's Lancashire Regiment in Basra in September 2003 when hotel receptionist Baha Mousa was killed and 9 other detainees were tortured whilst in British custody.
Sapna Malik from Leigh Day & Co and Phil Shiner from PIL represented Mr Mousa’s family and the other detainees during a public inquiry into Mr Mousa’s death. The inquiry Chair, Sir William Gage, found that Mr Mousa died with 93 injuries following what he described as an "appalling episode" of violence.
Dr Keilloh faces a misconduct hearing over allegations that he failed to ensure written records were made of medical examinations of civilian detainees. He also faces allegations of failing to conduct an adequate examination of Baha Mousa’s body after death and failing to notify a superior officer of the circumstances of his death.
Dr Keilloh claimed to have seen no more than some dried blood under Baha’s nose after unsuccessfully trying to resuscitate him. A subsequent post mortem found 93 separate injuries to his body. Further, despite being the treating doctor at the time of death, Keilloh did not sign the death certificate. Instead he informed the person who did sign the death certificate that cause of death was cardio-respiratory arrest.
Shortly after Baha Mousa’s death, Dr Keilloh examined two other detainees at the same detention facility, both of whom complained of having been assaulted by soldiers and being in extreme pain. One of the detainees, Mr Ahmed Taha Mousa Muttairi, was suffering from a visible hernia, which had been evident to a number of the guards at the detention facility.
In evidence to the public inquiry, Dr Keilloh stated that he saw no marks on the body of either detainee and did not believe their allegations of assault. He did not report their complaints to anyone and both men were returned to the detention building where they describe being subjected to further assaults.
Mr Ahmed Taha Mousa Muttairi arrived in the UK this week to provide oral evidence to the hearing in Manchester. He will start giving his evidence tomorrow (13 June 2012).
In his report Sir William Gage concluded that it was “difficult to accept that when attempting to resuscitate Baha Mousa, Keilloh did not see signs of mistreatment to his body. Furthermore, in light of the evidence from other members of the medical staff that after the death, comments were made in the Regimental Aid Post in relation to the injuries to Baha Mousa, I conclude that after this attempt to revive Baha Mousa, Keilloh knew that he had sustained injuries in the [Temporary Detention Facility] TDF. He ought then to have gone to the TDF to check on the condition of the other Detainees. Keilloh’s failure to go to the TDF after Baha Mousa’s death to examine all of the other Detainees was a serious failing. So was his failure to report what I find he must have known to a more serious officer in the Battlegroup.”
Sapna Malik, partner in the International Claims team at Leigh Day & Co who acts for Baha Mousa’s family and the detainees said: “A doctor swears an oath to protect life, being a soldier or operating in the theatre of war does not diminish that responsibility, in fact it increases it. It is therefore only right that the panel considers Dr Keilloh’s actions and acts appropriately should they find him guilty of the charges against him.”
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