A Northern Rivers doctor appeared in Lismore court yesterday to face sex allegations against a female patient.
A Northern Rivers doctor appeared in Lismore court yesterday to face sex allegations against a female patient.

Doctor faces sex allegations

A NORTHERN Rivers doctor appeared in the Lismore District Court yesterday to face allegations that he committed two sexual offences against a female patient.

It is alleged that on November 14, 2008, the woman had been in the doctor's consulting rooms when he had sexual intercourse with her without her consent.

The second charge is that he assaulted the woman and committed an act of indecency upon her.

Neither party can be named.

Outlining the details of the charges, the Crown prosecutor said the doctor had treated the woman for depression throughout 2008, including offering counselling and prescribing anti-depressant medication.

The doctor had doubled the dose of her medication shortly before the alleged offences, he said.

On November 14, the woman had attended the accused doctor's consulting rooms and he had asked her several questions, including whether she suffered from menopause, the prosecutor said.

“He told her he would check her. She was on a couch and he started to remove some of her clothing.”

He undid a zip and a button on her shorts and pulled them and her underpants to her knees.

It is alleged that the offences then took place.

The Crown prosecutor explained to the jury of eight men and four women that “sexual intercourse” had a broader meaning under NSW legislation to include penetration by any part of a man's body.

The Crown would seek to prove that the digital penetration it alleges occurred was not for any proper medical purpose, and therefore consent had not been obtained, he said.

The second charge was of assault, the prosecutor said, which was a broad term usually understood to mean hitting or kicking. In this case the assault consisted of “a touching”, he said, which was at the same time an act of indecency.

Specifically, the charge alleged that the doctor had taken the woman's hand and placed it on his penis after he had unzipped his trousers.

When the woman took her hand away, the doctor turned his back and she could hear him masturbating, the Crown alleges.

The woman had felt increasingly uncomfortable and uncertain about what to do.

She had gone home afterwards, watched television, showered and gone to bed.

In the morning she had been distressed and told a friend, who advised her to report the matter to the police.

Defending the doctor, Phillip Bolton, SC, told the jury it was important to remember that “there are two sides to this story”.

The accused “did not have sexual intercourse with the woman and he did not indecently assault her”, Mr Bolton said.

“He did not act inappropriately and did not conduct a vaginal examination that day. The accusations are just plain wrong.”

Only two people know what happened that day and the case would be a matter of the complainant's word against his client's he said.

“There were no other witnesses, no forensic evidence, nothing from scientists and no police attended until weeks after.”

He would call witnesses who would attest to his client's good character, he said.

The case continues today.

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