Friday, 25th June 2021

Sri Lankan doctor found guilty of sexual assault in Australia

Colombo, Jun 14 (BAN/CD): Canberra Times reported that a Sri Lankan doctor has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a patient at a West Australian Regional Hospital after arguing it was a case of mistaken identity.

A sexual penetration without consent charge has been made against doctor Priyantha Padmike Dayananda, aged 49, after a woman claimed that he molested her during an abdominal examination at Bunbury Hospital’s emergency department in December 2017.

The woman said that the doctor closed cubicle curtains, pulled up her clothes 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 texted her multiple times for the next five to six weeks, with one message reading: “Remember I touched your beautiful tummy at emergency”.

The woman also recalled being given “special attention” form the doctor when she was recuperating from surgery in the hospital for a fortnight in October that year. The doctor suggested that they “meet up” and even stroked her hair.

The District Court of WA heard that the woman had difficulty pronouncing his last name and mistook him to be Indian because of his accent. However, she recognized his voice when he called from the emergency department days later.

The doctor’s number in her phone was saved as “sleaziest slyest doctor”.

When a member of the hospital staff asked the woman to point out the doctor from a range of photographs, she immediately pointed to a different doctor.

Upon being asked to select again, she pointed to the same man.

Defense Counsel Simon Watts accused that man, a Pakistani doctor of being the perpetrator, but he denied it.

Prosecutor Joel Grinceri said the woman simply made an error.

Dayananda’s interview from the police footage shows that 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.

He also denied sending texts to the woman and could not explain how the texts were sent from his phone.

The father of one said the woman was “not normal and a troublesome one”.

A guilty verdict was passed on Wednesday after the jury deliberated for 10 hours.

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.

An undertaking of $10,000 and a surety of the same amount must be paid by Dayananda.

He will be sentenced on June 21.

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