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Doctor jailed for assaulting patients has sentence cut

A DOCTOR who sexually assaulted multiple female patients over six years has had his jail sentence reduced.

The Court of Appeal yesterday found Nemalan Seshagiri Moodley's four-year jail sentence for nine sexual assault offences was manifestly excessive.

Moodley was a practising GP in Gatton, Laidley and Plainlands between 2003 and 2009 when he rubbed his genitals against six different female patients, including a 17-year-old.

He pleaded guilty to the offences and was sentenced in the Ipswich District Court to four years in jail, which would have been suspended after he served 16 months behind bars.

Moodley appealed the sentence and argued that previous cases that the Crown relied on did not support its recommendation for a four to five-year jail term.

In a Court of Appeal judgment released yesterday, Justice Catherine Holmes stated the assaults in Moodley's case were relatively "fleeting" and occurred while Moodley was fully clothed.

Justice Holmes stated none of Moodley's offences involved penetrative or actual flesh-to-flesh contact. But she conceded the number of complaints and offences added extra gravity to the case.

However, Justice Holmes - with Justice James Douglas and Justice Hugh Fraser - found those features did not warrant increasing Moodley's sentence to four years' jail.

"To sentence at that level was, with respect, to lose sight of the proportions of the actual offences," Justice Holmes wrote. "The result was a manifestly excessive head sentence."

The Court set aside Moodley's sentence and imposed a sentence that would see Moodley spend 12 months in jail.

Topics:  court of appeal ipswich district court sexual assault



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