Former state specialist forensic pathologist, 60-year-old Dr James Blair Mwesigwa, who stole body parts at the Diepkloof mortuary, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Friday, reports Tembisan.
Mwesigwa stole organs from the body of Alida Scheepers on October 24, 2013, after she was killed in a car accident.
The body parts that were removed at the mortuary included the brain, tongue, pharynx, larynx, trachea, lungs, heart, pericardial sac, and part of the diaphragm.
Prosecutor Advocate Riana Williams argued the family of the deceased had to suffer the loss of a wife, daughter and a mother in a vehicle accident, which was traumatic on its own. As if this loss was not enough, they also had to deal with the fact that the body of the deceased was violated after her death by a professional pathologist.
The conviction was welcomed by the Democratic Alliance (DA).
Jack Bloom, MPL and DA Gauteng shadow health MEC, said this had been a long-running case, as he was suspended from the mortuary in November 2013.
“The Gauteng health department handled this case very badly, suspending him on full pay for 17 months, during which time he received R1.54 million, before resigning in March 2015.
“Ways should be found to speed up cases like this as Dr Mwesigwa has been free to practice as a doctor for all this time. I hope that he gets a very severe prison sentence for this heinous crime of desecrating the dead.”