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Doctor set to appeal sexual assault conviction

Following a November conviction of a North York anesthesiologist, the court sentenced him to 10 years in prison today. The doctor and his criminal defence lawyer are filing an appeal for the sexual assault conviction, but not for the sentence.

The doctor is accused of sexually assaulting at least 21 women while they underwent surgery at North York General Hospital, but the doctor argues that it would have been impossible for the doctor to have done what he was accused of because there were surgeons, nurses and other medical professionals in the room at the time of the alleged incidents. Had he been kissing the women, fondling their breasts or forcing them to fellate him, as was alleged, he would have been caught. The doctor was accused of doing all this behind a sterile screen during the surgical procedures.

Moreover, the doctor argues that the judge was wrong to have found that the women's testimony was believable and that he should not have thrown out evidence that would have questioned the doctor's guilt.

Sexual assault charges are very serious, as is evidenced by this doctor's sentence. Fortunately, the court showed some leniency, rejecting the Crown's suggested sentence of 12 to 15 years. As it is, the doctor has already had his licence suspended. Following a disciplinary hearing by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, he could have his licence stripped entirely.

For those who think prosecutors and police take accusations of sexual assault lightly, even if the allegations seem far-fetched, they should realise that a conviction can ruin a career and send someone to prison for a very long time.

Source: The Toronto Star, "Dr. George Doodnaught sentenced to 10 years in prison for sex assaults on women during surgery," Alyshah Hasham, Feb. 25, 2014

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