A Sri Lankan doctor has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a vulnerable patient at a West Australian regional hospital, after arguing it was a case of mistaken identity, the Canberra Times reported.
Priyantha Padmika Dayananda, 49, was charged with sexual penetration without consent, after the woman claimed a doctor molested her during an abdominal examination at Bunbury Hospital’s emergency department in December 2017. She said he closed the cubicle curtains behind him, pulled up her dress and brassiere, and inserted his hand into her underwear.
The woman, who has a history of trauma, said she ran from the hospital as fast as she could without discharging herself and took a taxi home. He called and text her several times for the next five to six weeks, with one message reading: “Remember I touched your beautiful tummy at emergency”.
The woman also said he had paid “special attention” when she was in hospital for a fortnight recuperating from surgery in October that year, suggesting they “meet up” and stroking her hair.
The District Court of WA heard she believed he had a long, difficult to pronounce surname, recognised his voice when he called days after the emergency department incident and believed he was an Indian because of his accent.
She saved his number in her phone under “sleaziest, slyest doctor”. After she complained, a hospital staff member asked her to point him out from a selection of photographs of the male doctors, but she swiftly selected a different doctor. She was encouraged to look again and selected the same man.
Defence Counsel Simon Watters accused that doctor, from Pakistan, of being the offender, which he denied. Prosecutor Joel Grinceri said the woman simply made an error.
In video footage of his police interview, Dayananda told detectives he didn’t and wouldn’t inappropriately touch “a girl like that” because he didn’t find her attractive, she could have diseases and he had a wife. The father of one, also denied sending the woman text messages, but could not explain how they had been sent from his phone. Dayananda said the woman made no advances to him but he found her “not normal ... a troublesome one”.
The jury deliberated for almost 10 hours, and was at one point deadlocked, before delivering a guilty verdict on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Grinceri said the offence was a gross breach of trust involving a degree of grooming.
Judge Belinda Lonsdale said Dayananda likely faced an immediate term of imprisonment, but granted him bail on strict conditions including daily appearances at a police station.
He must also pay a personal undertaking of $10,000 and a surety of the same amount.
Dayananda will be sentenced on June 21.
(Australian Associated Press)