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Jailed Kerala doctor in Australia found not guilty of raping

Thursday, Oct 30, 2014,18:17 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Melbourne | A 40-year-old Indian-origin doctor, jailed for raping two patients during medical examinations in Australia, has been found not guilty of sexually assaulting a third woman.
Manu Maimbilly Gopal who hails from Kochi, was sentenced to four years in jail on October 3 last year after a Supreme Court jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting two women after telling them they needed internal examinations during separate visits to the Sunbury Medical Centre here.
His alleged third victim claimed was sexually assaulted on January 15, 2012, where she was seen by Gopal for treatment for urinary tract infection. Defence barrister Sean Cash, however, said Gopal would not have done anything without the patient’s consent and there was a medical justification for doing what he did.
A jury found Gopal not guilty on Wednesday of one count of rape. Gopal studied from the Calicut University in Kerala. His medical license to practice in Australia and India has been revoked.
Manu Maimbilly Gopal, allegedly digitally penetrated two women illegally when they complained of abdominal pain during separate visits to a Sunbury medical clinic in Melbourne in February 2012. He was arrested at Melbourne international airport while waiting for an India-bound flight March 1.
When police contacted him on February 29 about the sexual harassment charges, Gopal changed his pre-booked flight to Kochi from 11 am to 1 am on March 1 to avoid arrest. I really got panicked. I didn’t know what to do, so I can’t think properly. I just wanted to flee from this situation, Gopal was quoted as saying when he was asked why he wanted to flee the country.
Earlier when the case came up for hearing, prosecutor Lesley Taylor told the Supreme Court in Melbourne that Gopal wanted to conduct the examinations for his own sexual gratification. The prosecution relies upon this evidence as an implied admission that he is responsible for the offences charged. This trial is not about whether Gopal was a good doctor. This trial is not about whether Gopal was a bad doctor, Taylor said. This trial is not about whether Gopal should have been allowed to practise in Australia under the limited registration programme.
She said the question was not whether in each case the vaginal examination carried out by the doctor was competent or incompetent. Taylor told the court that the second alleged victim, a mother of four, claimed Gopal, during examination, asked her: Do you want me to do it softer? Do you want me to do it faster? Does it feel good now? The patient said that initially she thought it was a language barrier and she felt a little bit odd.