Saturday 16 December 2017

Doctor now wants to plead not guilty in harassment case

Medic had admitted filming woman

Mark Hilliard

A DOCTOR who admitted filming a woman using the toilet at his practice yesterday attempted to change his plea on a harassment charge to not guilty.

Dr Deva Devendra said he had felt pressurised into admitting to the crime because of legal advice he had received, and due to the effects of medication he was on at a previous court hearing.

The 37-year-old was charged with harassment after a female patient found the hidden camera in the toilets of his practice in Balbriggan in north Dublin in February of last year. She handed the device to gardai.

According to previous evidence, Dr Devendra, a married father of one, bought the camera on the internet and placed it on top of a sanitary bin. A total of 59 video clips were recovered, including six of him setting up the equipment, but he had never had the opportunity to watch them.

At Blanchardstown District Court yesterday, Judge David Anderson was told that Dr Devendra wanted to change his plea to not guilty.

Defence counsel Feargal Kavanagh said that Dr Devendra had only one opportunity to confer with his legal representatives before entering his plea.

He had subsequently changed his lawyer.

Dr Devendra was on anti-depressant medication and this may have had an effect on his judgment at the time of his plea, Mr Kavanagh said.

The defence counsel told the court it had the discretion to accommodate the application, and this was confirmed by the State on the proviso that a good reason for doing so was demonstrated.

"The accused man found himself in a very vulnerable position. He felt, on the morning, pressurised to some degree to enter a plea," said Mr Kavanagh.

The judge expressed his concern at the idea of deciding on whether the initial legal advice received by Dr Devendra was sufficient without hearing from those who gave it.

He adjourned the case until next Friday at the Criminal Courts of Justice to consider the matter.

Irish Independent

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