Courts

Saturday 2 August 2014

'Woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by doctor was acting strangely,' court told

Declan Brennan

Published 08/07/2014|12:53

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Picture posed. Getty Images/iStockphoto
Picture posed. Getty Images/iStockphoto

A woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by a Waterford doctor was behaving strangely and like someone who "seemed to be investigating the doctor", his defence barrister has told a jury.

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The 37-year-old accused is alleged to have felt the nipples and breasts of two patients while examining their chest with a stethoscope.

He has pleaded not  guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of sexual assault at a GP clinic in Dublin on February 19 and 20, 2013. The court has heard the accused has worked as a locum doctor in Cork, Tipperary, Offaly and Waterford.

In her closing speech, Melanie Greally BL, prosecuting, said that there is no evidence that the two women cooked up these allegations between them. She said the evidence was that the second woman didn't know about the first woman's allegation until after she had made her own allegation of a sexual assault.

She said the defence suggestion that the second complaint was a copy cat allegation "simply did not get off the ground".

Brendan Grehan SC, defending, responded by telling the jury that there is no onus on the defence to prove their case and they are entitled to raise doubts in the minds of the jurors.

He said that the second alleged victim was behaving peculiarly when she repeatedly said nothing to the doctor despite apparently feeling uncomfortable at a number of points during the examination.

The woman, now aged 50, said the doctor's face was uncomfortably close to hers and that she thought it was very strange when he unzipped her hoodie top without saying anything to her.

She said that she suspected his hand was stimulating her nipple from over her clothing but resisted the urge to jump up because she wanted to check it was actually happening by reaching her hand down to her breast.

Mr Grehan said: "Would her instinctive reaction not be an immediate swiping away?  I suggest her actions suggest she was someone who seemed to be investigating the doctor?"

The first alleged victim, aged 23, went to the clinic suffering from cold and flu symptoms. The woman testified that early in the consultation she began to feel uncomfortable with the conversation between her and the doctor.

She claimed that the doctor was not looking her in the eye and that he kept pausing after the responses to his questions. She said that he ran his fingers gently up her arm while taking her blood pressure. The doctor later told gardai that this was normal.

The woman also said the doctor unbuttoned some of the buttons on the shirt after she had unbuttoned the top ones and this left her chest fully exposed. The doctor told gardaií he would only ever help a patient unbutton or remove their clothes if they had clearly given consent.

The woman said the doctor pulled her bra to one side, exposing her breast. She said that while holding the stethoscope in the palm of his hand he brushed her nipple with her thumb in a gratuitous and sexually motivated way.

Mr Grehan said that it is his client's belief that the first patient was stressed and had self medicated with a number of over the counter medications and prescription medicines. During the trial counsel suggested that some of the possible side effects of these medications was hallucinations, nervousness and high fever.

Judge Catherine Murphy has charged the jury of seven men and five women which will begin its deliberations this afternoon.

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