WA’s ‘sleaziest’ doctor convicted of molesting patient

A West Australian doctor has been found guilty of sexual penetration without consent, with a jury finding he inserted his hand into a patient's underwear.
A West Australian doctor has been found guilty of sexual penetration without consent, with a jury finding he inserted his hand into a patient's underwear.

A DOCTOR who denied sexually assaulting a patient at a West Australian regional hospital, with his lawyer arguing it was a case of mistaken identity, has been convicted by a jury.

Priyantha Padmike Dayananda, 49, was charged with sexual penetration without consent after the woman claimed he molested her during an abdominal examination in an emergency department cubicle at Bunbury Hospital in December 2017.

She said it caused her to run from the hospital without discharging herself and take a taxi home, and he called and texted her multiple times for the next five to six weeks.

The woman also said he had paid her “special attention” when she was recuperating from surgery in October that year, suggesting they “meet up” and stroking her hair.

The District Court of WA heard she recognised his voice when he called days after the emergency department incident and believed he was 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.

He also denied sending the woman texts, 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.