‘Indecent assault a delusion?’

2010-11-01 00:00

A THIRTY-THREE-YEAR old doctor was acquitted by a regional court magistrate in Pietermaritzburg on Friday of a charge that he indecently assaulted a 17-year-old private hospital patient while examining her four years ago.

The doctor was accused by the daughter of a friend of kissing her, squeezing her breast and of interfering with her private parts when he examined her behind closed curtains on February 9, 2006.

The doctor’s name has not been published in terms of a court order, pending the outcome of the trial.

The girl had been admitted to hospital after collapsing at school.

Giving judgment on Friday, regional court magistrate S. Mngomezulu said there were “numerous shortcomings” in the state’s evidence.

He said that the defence had suggested from the outset of the case that the complainant in the case could be suffering from bipolar disorder.

It emerged during the evidence that the victim and her parents were receiving treatment for a psychological condition, although the nature of that condition was not clear.

The psychologist who treated the girl was not called to testify.

An expert witness, who was called by the defence, testified in court that a person who is suffering from bipolar disorder could suffer from delusions. The delusions were described as a “fixed, false belief” — a belief that something had happened, when in fact it had not.

Mngomezulu said, “The court agrees with the submissions by the defence that the prosecution failed to present evidence which excludes the possibility that the complainant could have been imagining what she alleged the accused did to her, because of [bipolar disorder].”

He said that evidence against the doctor had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The doctor was therefore entitled to be acquitted of the charge against him.

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