Doctor accused of sexual assault takes stand
THE Rockhampton doctor at the centre of sexual assault allegations against seven patients has taken the stand to defend the 25 remaining charges.
Dr Elamurugan Arumugam, 55, has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and alternative charges of common assault in the Rockhampton District Court.
The women's allegations range from inappropriate touching of their breasts to him sticking his fingers in their mouths during consultations.
Dr Arumugam said due to Central Queensland being the skin capital of the world as a result of UV ray intensity and it being settled by mostly fair-skinned Caucasian people, the most prominent areas where skin cancers are found in local
patients were the lips, face and hands.
"I specialise in early cancers," he told the jury.
Dr Arumugam explained those early cancers include actinic cheilitis which is caused by serious sun damage to the lip.
"Most patients are unaware they are suffering from actinic cheilitis," he said.
"The transition is very subtle from actinic cheilitis to carcinoma."
Dr Arumugam explained the reason why he focuses on this area is because actinic cheilitis can be treated by laser, avoiding deforming the patient's lips needing to be cut to remove cancer.
Seven charges against doctor dropped middle of trial
SEVEN of 32 charges against a Rockhampton plastic surgeon were dropped mid-trial yesterday.
At the end of the crown's evidence in the case against Dr Elamurugan Arumugam, crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence advised the court the crown was no longer proceeding on six of the charges to which the doctor had entered not guilty pleas.
The court heard the six charges were in relation to only one of the alleged victims.
A seventh charge was also dismissed before defence barrister Ross Lo Monaco started his opening address.
It was not explained to the jury why the crown was not proceeding with those charges.
They were dismissed late yesterday afternoon after the Mt Archer Medical Centre general practitioner Dr Sandra Prasad and the investigating officer Sergeant Chris Griffin gave evidence.
Dr Prasad recommended four of the alleged victims to Dr Arumugam - otherwise known by patients and colleagues as Dr Aru - for skin cancer consultations.
She said Dr Aru had made an appointment to meet the medical centre staff about 2010 to introduce himself when he first established his practice.
Dr Prasad said she had only ever met him on two occasions.
She then went on to explain how each of the four women came to tell her of "inappropriate" touching during examinations by Dr Aru.
"She (the first of the four women) came into my room quite distraught," Dr Prasad said.
"She said he had touched her breast inappropriately."
The GP told of the woman complaining of feeling so ashamed, she could not even tell her husband what had happened.
Dr Prasad said she did not ask the woman any further details, but advised her to tell her husband and make a complaint to police.
She said when the second woman complained of "inappropriate" touching by Dr Aru, she gave the second woman the contact details of the police officer who had contacted her after the first woman's complaint.
Dr Prasad told the court the next two women complained of Dr Aru placing his fingers in their mouths and feeling uncomfortable about it.
Sgt Griffin said he was the investigating officer from the beginning after the first alleged victim attended the Rockhampton police station for the first time in May 2013.
The court heard Dr Arumugam's lawyers contacted Sgt Griffin and provided him with a statutory declaration in relation to allegations made by alleged victims as of September 2014.
That statutory declaration, which was read out in court yesterday, contained communication between Dr Arumugan and the Australian Medical Board in Queensland about his registration and a committee's recommendation to put 12 conditions including the requirement of a chaperone during examinations of all female patients.