SPARED JAIL FOR FILM­ING SEX ACT WITH PA­TIENT

Judge tells shamed os­teopath it was ‘de­grad­ing in­va­sion of pri­vacy’:

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Tom Mol­loy

AN OS­TEOPATH who used a se­cret cam­era to film a sex­ual act with one of his pa­tients has avoided jail.

Michael George Ham­mond, of Llan­goed, Beau­maris, was sen­tenced to six months im­pris­on­ment, sus­pended for 18 months.

The 61-year-old had pleaded guilty to voyeurism af­ter us­ing a cam­era hid­den in a pen on one of his shelves in his prac­tice, to record the act.

He was re­ported by an ex-part­ner and for­mer pa­tient, who found the record­ing while she had been wait­ing to be seen at his clinic in Liver­pool.

At Caernar­fon Crown Court, Judge Huw Rees de­scribed the act, which took place in Liver­pool be­tween 2007 and 2009, as “a de­ceit­ful and sly of­fence on a lady en­ti­tled to pri­vacy and re­spect”.

He added that al­though the sex­ual act was con­sen­sual, the ex­tents he went to in or­der to film it, with­out the vic­tim’s knowl­edge, was one that re­quired “con­sid­er­able pur­pose of mind”.

Judge Rees said: “You sought out this pen, you pur­chased it, you se­creted it in your treat­ment room and po­si­tioned it sur­rep­ti­tiously.

“You tres­passed on her dig­nity and slyly in­vaded her pri­vacy.”

Pros­e­cu­tion bar­ris­ter, Mr Karl Scholz called for a cus­to­dial sen­tence, as he be­lieved the of­fence fell within cat­e­gory one sen­tenc­ing guide­lines for sex­ual as­sault, due to raised harm and raised cul­pa­bil­ity.

He listed ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors in­clud­ing the place of the of­fence be­ing Ham­mond’s clinic, the im­ages be­ing avail­able to be viewed and the fact that Ham­mond ap­peared to use his po­si­tion as a plat­form to abuse women.

Mr Sholz also said the crime “in­volved plan­ning and in­volved a breach of trust”.

Pauli­nus Barnes, de­fend­ing, said Ham­mond was re­morse­ful and knew his ca­reer was prob­a­bly over.

He said: “He knew from the out­set that his be­hav­iour was dis­grace­ful.

“He abused the lady’s pri­vacy and is gen­uinely re­morse­ful.

“He’s now had to close his busi­ness, his ca­reer is over, and he’s lost his good name. That’s quite some pun­ish­ment in it­self.”

Mr Barnes called for a sus­pended sen­tence and, in mit­i­ga­tion, re­minded the judge of Ham­mond’s early guilty plea and the fact the view­ing of the footage was very lim­ited as the record­ing wasn’t up­loaded to the in­ter­net or dis­trib­uted fur­ther.

Pass­ing sen­tence, Judge Rees de­scribed the of­fence as “en­tirely de­grad­ing” for the vic­tim and told Ham­mond: “This is a sub­stan­tial fall from grace for you, at the age of 61.”

Judge Rees also or­dered Ham­mond to do 150 hours of un­paid work, com­plete a 50-day re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ac­tiv­ity re­quire­ment and pay vic­tim sur­charges within three months. He also or­dered the record­ing to be de­stroyed.

Judge Rees added: “Any fail­ures of these con­di­tions, ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances aside, you will be jailed”.

Dis­graced: Os­teopath Michael George Ham­mond of Llan­goed

Michael George Ham­mond, of Llan­goed, Beau­maris pleaded guilty to voyeurism

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