A physician was convicted of multiple charges of indecent assault in violation of section 61L of the Crimes Act 1900. The court in R v Mohammad Rahman  NSWDC 101 explained the circumstances of the crimes and the reason for the sentence that was imposed.
Over a period of six months, Mohammad Rahman touched seventeen of his female patients inappropriately. He did so for his own sexual gratification. One of the patients was a fourteen-year-old girl. He also touched a woman in the presence of her foster children.
The touching included inappropriate breast examinations that consisted of fondling rather than a legitimate search for lumps. In some cases, including the case of the fourteen-year-old, the doctor touched his patients’ vaginas for no medical purpose. During the examinations, he asked his patients questions about their sexual relations with their boyfriends.
Other acts of inappropriate touching occurred while the doctor administered unnecessary pap smears. He also pushed his pelvis against his patients’ bodies.
The touching of the fourteen-year-old was an aggravated indecent assault by virtue of the victim’s age. The maximum sentence for that offence is 10 years.
The other 22 charges were indecent assaults. The maximum sentence for each of those crimes is 5 years.
Longer sentences in indecent assault cases may be warranted when the offender abuses a position of trust. Since a doctor occupies such a position, that factor applied.
Longer sentences may also be warranted when the victim suffered serious emotional harm as a result of the touching. The court found that the victims did not suffer serious harm, although many experienced embarrassment, a loss of trust, or a fear of doctors.
The doctor is from Bangladesh. He has lived in Australia for about 10 years. He has no prior convictions. He is married with children. He has a history of providing charitable services. He has a good reputation as a doctor.
A psychologist examined Dr. Rahman. At first, Dr. Rahman tried to justify his behavior, but after pleading guilty, he expressed regret and at least some understanding of the consequences his behavior had on his victims. The psychologist thought Dr. Rahman was driven by a breast fetish but was unlikely to reoffend.
The court decided that an appropriate sentence for the aggravated indecent assault charge would be 6 1/2 years, reduced to 4 1/2 years because of the guilty plea. The court concluded that the appropriate sentence for each indecent assault charge was 3 years or 3 1/2 years, depending on whether uncharged offences were committed against the same victim, reduced to 2 years and 3 months or 2 years and 6 months respectively.
The court accumulated the sentences because concurrent sentences would not have reflected the individual nature of each offence. The court did make them partially concurrent to take into account that some offences involved the same victim.
The court imposed an overall sentence of 9 years with a non-parole period of 6 years. While a non-parole period for these offences is usually 75% of the overall sentence, the court gave Dr. Rahman a shorter non-parole period to account for the fact that this is his first time in custody.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.