SL doc­tor guilty of sex as­sault in Aus­tralia

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FRONT PAGE -

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”.

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

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.

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