Canada briefs – September 12

One-fifth of doctor disciplinary cases in the last decade involved repeat offenders, suggesting a need for greater monitoring, researchers at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital have concluded.

One-fifth of doctor discipline cases involve

repeat offenders: research

TORONTO — One-fifth of doctor disciplinary cases in the last decade involved repeat offenders, suggesting a need for greater monitoring, researchers at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital have concluded.

The researchers looked at the cases of doctors who were disciplined by their provincial medical licensing bodies between 2000 and 2009. Of the 606 cases in total, they found that 92 per cent of those doctors were men and that a majority were family physicians who had been practising for a long time.

Research from the United States suggests that women communicate more effectively with patients, which leads to a lower rate of malpractice claims, the study authors said.

The findings were published Tuesday in the journal Open Medicine.

Research Dr. Chaim Bell said the number of doctors disciplined each year only represents about one per cent of all physicians in Canada.

Amnesty demands Canada act as UN paints ghastly picture of Afghan torture

OTTAWA — Amnesty International is demanding that Canada check on the welfare of the prisoners it handed over to Afghan authorities, even though the Canadian combat mission in Afghanistan has ended.

The demand comes in the wake of a blistering United Nations report that documents the torture of suspected Taliban fighters.

An Amnesty letter to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, obtained by The Canadian Press, warned that Ottawa’s obligations under international law have not ceased just because troops are no longer capturing insurgents in the field.

Jury selection in Torri Stafford murder trial

to begin in early next year

LONDON, Ont. — Jury selection will begin Feb. 27 for the trial of the man accused of murdering eight-year-old Tori Stafford.

Michael Rafferty appeared Tuesday for the pre-trial hearing dealing with scheduling matters.

Four weeks, beginning Jan. 16, have been set aside for the judge to hear lawyers’ arguments over several pre-trial motions.

A publication ban prevents much of the other information presented at the hearing from being made public.

Rafferty, 30, was among two people charged with first-degree murder in the 2009 death of the Woodstock, Ont., girl.

Terri-Lynne McClintic, 21, has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison in April of last year.

Rafferty’s trial was moved from Woodstock to London due to concerns he would not get a fair trial in the city of 30,000.

Eight jurors selected

for family murder trial

KINGSTON, Ont. — Eight jurors have been selected in Kingston, Ont., in the murder trial of a Montreal couple and their adult son accused of killing members of their own family.

Jury selection began today in the trial of Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, her husband Mohammad Shafia, 58, and their son, Hamed Mohammad Shafia, 20.

The family members are each charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

Three teenage Shafia sisters, Zainab, 19, Sahari, 17, and Geeti, 13, along with Rona Amir Mohammad, 50, were found dead inside a submerged car discovered in June 2009 in the Rideau Canal.

The case has drawn a lot of publicity, and 1,050 people have been sent jury summons.

The trial is projected to last about three months.

Quebec opens door to safe injection sites after ruling

QUEBEC — The Quebec government is giving the green light to new safe injection sites for addicts to shoot up under supervision.

Health Minister Yves Bolduc says he supports the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision to keep the Insite safe injection clinic open in Vancouver.

Bolduc says the ruling removed the last hurdle preventing Quebec from opening similar government-supported centres.

The province is accepting proposals for safe injection sites — which could open their doors in the coming months in Montreal and Quebec City.

Two organizations have already expressed interest in opening such clinics.

In its decision, the Supreme Court ordered the Conservative government to abandon its effort to close Vancouver’s Insite clinic.

The high court also ruled that exemptions must be put in place to protect staff from prosecution for drug possession or trafficking.