GP's co-workers testify

WITNESSES in the trial of a doctor accused of sexually assaulting a patient told the Lismore District Court that his “personal practice” was to have a nurse present as a chaperone when he carried out intimate examinations.

Dr Prasanna Mishra denies raping and indecently assaulting a woman at the Goonellabah Medical Centre in November, 2008.

The only time he had performed a vaginal procedure on the woman – to give her a pap smear on January 30, 2008 – a nurse had been present, the doctor has said.

The complainant has given evidence to say that no one was ever present on the “many occasions” the doctor had carried out intimate examinations.

However, medical centre records tendered yesterday showed that a nurse had been booked in to assist Dr Mishra with the pap smear during a double appointment on January 30, 2008.

The office manager of the medical centre, Diane Kerr, and a founding doctor, Andrew Binns, testified that Dr Mishra made a point of having a chaperone in his surgery during internal examinations.

When no nurse was available, Ms Kerr said she had performed that function herself.

The medical centre’s records also showed that the complainant had seen Dr Mishra for a little over 33 minutes on the day he allegedly assaulted her – not the hour and 35 to 40 minutes that she told police the next day.

Ms Kerr and another medical centre staffer told the court they had been shocked and disbelieving when he was arrested. They had been patients of his, and continued to see him, despite the charges.

“He is an outstanding doctor, whom I trust to look after my health and that of my three daughters,” Ms Kerr said.

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