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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 21:15 GMT
Brain sample probe must be shown
Dr Marco Rossi
Dr Marco Rossi says he still suffers ill health
A judge has ordered Liverpool University chiefs to reveal whether a neurosurgeon removed human brain samples for research without consent.

Peter Warnke was suspended from the Walton Centre for Neurosurgery in April 2005 over allegations he sent samples to a private company in Germany.

The claims are part of a case brought by his former colleague Dr Marco Rossi, who is suing the university.

Dr Rossi claims he was victimised for revealing the alleged misconduct.

He is suing three of his former employers, including the university, for breach of contract, claiming they failed to protect him from bullying.

University officials wanted to withhold details of an internal investigation they conducted into the conduct of Prof Warnke, who also sat on a panel set up after the Alder Hey organs retention scandal.

Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool
Prof Warnke sat on a panel set up after the Alder Hey organ scandal

But on Thursday District Judge John Coffey ruled the information must be disclosed.

He said: "I am satisfied that the truth or otherwise of the whistle blowing reports is highly relevant.

"It is evidentially relevant to the disputed facts such as Professor Warnke's conduct and attitude towards the claimant (Rossi) and the efforts allegedly made to suppress the investigation.

"The truth of such allegations is relevant to the credibility of the claimant."

The court heard that Dr Rossi, who was head of an ethics board, reported the professor after hearing allegations he had taken human brain tissue without ethical consent, developed antibodies by testing them on human tissue and attempted to obtain tonsils from live children.

Dr Rossi, who was a consultant neuropathologist at the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, claimed he was then subjected to a campaign of bullying and harassment by colleagues.

'Ill health'

He claims he was forced to stop work in 2002 because of stress and ill health.

The university has until 30 April to disclose the information to Dr Rossi's legal team. A date will then be set for a full hearing.

Speaking after the hearing, Dr Rossi told the BBC: "It is very important because every citizen has got the right to know what the truth is.

"I was forced to resign on ill health and I am still ill - every day of the week."

A spokeswoman for the University of Liverpool said it had no comment to make about the proceedings on Thursday.

"We can confirm that an investigation was conducted, but in the context of the current proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment," she added.


SEE ALSO
Surgeon served on Alder Hey panel
15 Aug 05 |  Merseyside
Samples probe surgeon suspended
03 Jun 05 |  Merseyside

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