Doctor denies rape, assault
THE doctor accused of raping and assaulting a patient at the Goonellabah Medical Centre vehemently denied the allegations when he gave evidence before the Lismore District Court yesterday.
Dr Prasanna Mishra has been charged with rape and assault with an act of indecency stemming from a consultation with a female patient in November 2008.
Under examination from his barrister, Phillip Bolton, SC, Dr Mishra, who is on leave from the medical centre, spoke publicly about the allegations for the first time.
Mr Bolton asked intimate questions about the consultation which led to the allegations and Dr Mishra answered repeatedly ‘No I did not' to each question.
Dr Mishra is accused of moving his fingers ‘back and forth in a sexual way' while conducting a vaginal examination on the complainant.
He is also accused of pushing his penis up against the woman, eventually placing her hand on his exposed genitals.
Dr Mishra denies conducting a vaginal examination during the consultation.
The accused also said that his procedure when examining a female patient intimately was to have a chaperone, usually a nurse, present for the examination.
The alleged victim was being treated at the time for depression and had been on anti-depression medication.
Dr Mishra told the court of the thousands of female patients he had treated since being admitted as an intern in India in 1991 and that he had no previous allegations against him after practising in India, Fiji and Australia.
He will continue giving evidence today .
Earlier, Lismore paediatrician Dr Chris Ingall gave a glowing character reference for the accused.
Dr Ingall described Dr Mishra and his correspondence with him during cases they were involved in together “as a rank above other practitioners in the main”.
Dr Ingall also said he found the accused an “insightful, empathetic and an able doctor”.
Former Goonellabah Medical Centre practice manager Paul Campbell gave evidence about protocols and practices of the centre and said that between April 2007 and the end of 2008 Dr Mishra had about 10,000 consultations.
Under cross-examination, Mr Campbell expressed his deep admiration for the accused and came close to tears. Dr Mishra was visibly moved by the former practice manager's testimony while sitting in the witness box.
Dr Carol Stevenson, of the Richmond Sexual Assault Service, and the investigating police officer,Detective Senior Constable Emma Hogan, also gave evidence.