Samitha Vernon Sudusinghe at a previous court appearance
Samitha Vernon Sudusinghe at a previous court appearance

Doctor loses appeal over sexual assault

A FORMER Queensland doctor convicted of inappropriately touching a female patient during an examination admitted he had crossed the line when his victim confronted him days later.

Samitha Vernon Sudusinghe, 55, was found guilty last year of sexual assault for touching the woman's vagina through her underwear during a consultation for her abdominal pain four years earlier.

He appealed against the verdict, saying there had been a miscarriage of justice.

The prosecutor should never have been allowed to suggest he lied to police, he told the Brisbane Court of Appeal through his lawyers.

The trial judge also erred when he gave the jury instructions about the evidence, he said.

 

Samitha Vernon Sudusinghe at a previous court appearance
Samitha Vernon Sudusinghe at a previous court appearance

 

The appeal relates to evidence heard during the trial, including a covertly recorded conversation between Sudusinghe and the woman when she returned to his surgery and questioned him about the assault.

"Why you been touching me without permission between my legs?" the woman can be heard asking on the recording.

"Yeah, I was crossing the borders," Sudusinghe admits after initially laughing at the woman and telling her to leave his office.

"Between my legs, is that right?" she says, refusing to be put off.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know," he finally concedes.

When questioned about the conversation by police, Sudusinghe denied the woman had confronted him until officers replayed the secret recording. "Do you remember this conversation with this lady?" the officer asks during the interview.

"I think I vaguely remember. Yeah," Sudusinghe says.

At his trial, the prosecutor suggested the denial was, in fact, a lie the jury could use to assess Sudusinghe's credibility.

The trial judge told jurors to make up their own minds about the incident after they had been played both conversations.

Sudusinghe said his conviction should be overturned because the lie was not a lie about the sexual assault allegations he was on trial for. A full bench of the Appeal Court on Friday disagreed, saying the prosecutor and judge had acted appropriately.

Sudusinghe's appeal was dismissed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Doctor loses appeal over sexual assault


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